Image by burtamus from Pixabay

There’s no place like home, is there?

A lot of animals would agree with that statement, if they could speak.

Many birds and animals have an uncanny “homing instinct” that allows them to travel thousands of miles to return to the very same location each year.

Monarch butterflies from eastern North America return to the same wintering grounds in central Mexico each year, even to the very same forest.

Sea-dwelling Pacific salmon return to the same river they were born in to spawn.

Pregnant sea turtles migrate thousands of miles across the ocean to lay their eggs on the same beach on which they were born decades earlier.

And then there are homing pigeons, the champions of long-distance way-finding. Their homing instincts are so reliable that they’ve been used in wartime to deliver crucial messages over enemy lines.

But how do they do it?

One theory suggests that homing pigeons may have a mineral called magnetite in their beaks, which acts as a tiny GPS unit. This would allow them to sense the earth’s magnetic fields and their own position in relation to it. If true, it would mean that these birds are essentially flying compasses, with their beaks pointing them in the direction they should go.

It makes me wonder: do humans have a “homing instinct”?

I can’t speak to whether we have magnetic sensors in our bodies like some other mammals appear to.

But I do believe we have a spiritual homing instinct.

We seem to have a little bit of Heaven imprinted on our brains, a vestige of Eden, as it were. We still have a sense of how things were meant to be. We’re somehow attuned to that direction, our “true north.” We long for it, we search for it, and we won’t truly be happy until we’ve found it.

We have a homing instinct for our heavenly home.

“Here indeed, in this [present abode, body], we sigh and groan inwardly, because we yearn to be clothed over [we yearn to put on our celestial body like a garment, to be fitted out] with our heavenly dwelling.” (2 Corinthians 5:2 AMP)

In Hebrews 11 we read of the faith heroes in the Old Testament, like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah. It seems they all had a homing instinct for Heaven, too:

“All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)

Image by Vicki Nunn from Pixabay

That longing for a heavenly home reminds me of some lines from the Squire Parsons song “Beulah Land”:

I’m kind of homesick for a country
Where I’ve never been before
No sad goodbyes will there be spoken
For time won’t matter anymore

While we have a purpose for being here on Earth, our true home is Heaven. That’s why going there for the believer is called “going home.”

“I say to you that there shall be joy like this in Heaven over one sinner who returns home, more than over ninety-nine righteous ones who do not need a homecoming.” (Luke 15:7 Aramaic Bible)

There’s something inside of you telling you to turn to God. Listen to it: it’s your spiritual homing instinct.

God is longing for you to come back to Him. So come home: after all, it’s where you truly belong!

“Come home, come home
Ye who are weary come home
Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling
Calling, oh, sinner come home.”

(from “softly and tenderly jesus is calling”
by will l. thompson, 1880)

© 2021. Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

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