No Place Like Home
A Sanctuary Amidst Uncertainty
Dorothy is alone in a strange world. During her quest to return home she meets the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion in search of Land of Oz. In this story, they reach the great Wizard of Oz in the quest to discover happiness and fulfillment. It is at the end, after having endured different trials, that Dorothy discovers that all she had to do was to click her heels together and repeat the words, “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home!” and she suddenly finds herself back in the safety of her home surrounded by her loved ones. That phrase in the legendary movie The Wizard of Oz, has become iconic.
What is home?
Dorothy’s words ring with a sound of truism—there is no place like home! However, those words beg a question: “What truly is a home?” Surely, it’s more than just a house or place to live. Society at-large gives witness that every house is not a home. All around us we see family disruption, breakup, and unhappiness. In my experience as a pastor and family counselor, I’ve heard both adults and children make the statement that “they would rather be anywhere but at home” because of the unrest and unhappiness that exists in their home. Surely, this is not what God had in mind for homes and families.
God’s perspective of what makes a home is far removed from what we see in homes and families today. The makeup of the family is widely diverse, to say the least, but every family, regardless of its makeup, can experience the happiness and peace that God intends when we make our “homes” God-inclusive. Ecclesiastes 12:13 declares, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” An appropriate fear of God, reverencing and devoting one’s life to the Creator, will be the soil out of which positive influences of your family will grow and the basic reason your home will become a safe place for every member of the family to thrive and achieve their highest potential. God-fearing families will be blessed beyond measure. These families:
Will be prosperous in the most important ways (Psalm 112:1-3).
Experience God’s goodness (Psalm 31:19).
Are special objects of God’s protection (Psalm 31:20).
Have children to whom God shows compassion (Psalm 103:11-18).
Will be praying people whose prayers will be heard (Psalm 145:19).
Are considerate and kind (Psalm 112:4, 5).
Are characterized by integrity and faithfulness (Job 2:3).
Are noted for constructive speech (Malachi 3:16).
Persevere in doing what is right (2 Corinthians 7:1).
Are patient, hopeful, and genuine (Psalm 147:11).
Delight in worshipping God (Revelation 14:7).
Love the Scripture and order their lives according to God’s commands (Ecclesiastes 12:13; Psalm 112:1).
God makes a promise to families who will turn to Him. “They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me” (Jeremiah 32:38-40). God will make families intentional. He will give them singleness of heart and action.
The enemy is a great detractor. He attempts to keep families so busy and occupied with many things that cause families not to spend time with God and with each other. We often hear, “I don’t have time…” But honestly, this is a very weak excuse because we do make time to do things we deem important, regardless of what they might be. Every one of us must become seriously intentional in making our homes our number one priority as it relates to our connection with God and those who make up our homes. Nothing else is more important.
There are two things that make for healthy relationships—time and communication. Those two things apply to every relationship, whether on a horizontal or vertical plane. A healthy family begins with your relationship with God. Bring your family together daily for prayer, resolving not to leave home, even for the simplest errands, without praying. Make it a habit. Or better yet, make it a family tradition. Every member of the family, young and old will come to know that God is in the center of each life in your home. Let it be known by all who dwell in your home that it is true that they can “do all this through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). Making the time to have your family learn how to lean on God for everything is the most valuable endeavor for your family’s happiness and satisfaction. That intentional effort opens the door for open communication, the other ingredient for healthy family relationships.
Families that purposely engage in open talk with each other are drawn closer together. Parents, create a safe environment for your children to talk to you about any and everything that impacts their lives. Without argument, the greatest gift parents can give to their children is the gift of listening. Listening is for the purpose of understanding what’s going on in their world.
In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy was told to click her heels together and repeat, “There’s no place like home.” Christian families don’t have to click their heels together. They can simply come together as a family and talk to God and each other. Families should be creative in developing activities that bring them closer to each other, and they don’t have to be big or extraordinary activities. Discover that just being together and learning to enjoy each other as family is the greatest reward.
If your family has not been intentional in its efforts of creating a safe home environment, why not ask for God’s intervention today? It may be uncomfortable at first, but for the sake of your family’s peace and happiness, persevere and watch the transformation. God desires great and beautiful things for your family. As you grow together, I believe you will be able to declare, “there’s no place like home!”
Buford Griffith, Jr., has an M.A. in Biblical Counseling and is the Southwestern Union Conference Executive Secretary and Director of Family Ministries.