"You have entered Bear Country." Matt read aloud the words on the sign posted beside the road. "Bear country!" he exclaimed. "You didn't say anything about bears when you asked me to camp here this weekend, Grandpa."
Grandpa smiled. "It's not likely that we'll see any," he said, "but it's good to be alert to the possibility."
As Matt helped Grandpa pound the tent stakes, he smiled. Having a bear in our camp would make a cool story to tell the guys at school, he thought. But another thought kept climbing on top of the "cool story" idea. This tent looks pretty flimsy . . . a bear could tear right through it.
Matt and Grandpa had a wonderful day hiking, fishing, cooking the fish over an open fire, telling jokes, and roasting marshmallows. Matt was exhausted when he crawled into his sleeping bag. But . . . he couldn't sleep. A stone poked him from underneath his sleeping bag. He heard people laughing at a nearby campfire. The sound of snapping branches reminded him that there could be bears in the woods.
Matt felt a lump in his throat. I wish I were home, he thought. He missed his mom's warm hugs, hot showers, a quiet bedroom and no bears!
Just as Grandpa began to snore, Matt remembered something his dad had once said when they were on a trip. He could almost hear Dad's voice saying, "This world isn't really our home. We're just travelers here. A traveler sees wonderful things and has fun experiences, but he isn't totally comfortable until he's home. And our real home is in heaven."
Matt hadn't understood that at the time, but now he did. I really like camping with Grandpa, he thought, but I'm glad I'll be going home in a few days.
On the last morning of camping, Matt helped Grandpa pack up the gear. He'd had a great time, and now he didn't want to leave. At the same time, he couldn't wait to tell his friends about the bear that had actually wandered into their campsite the night before. He knew they'd be impressed. Mom and Dad will want to hear all about the stuff we did, too and maybe I'll surprise them and tell them how glad I am to be home, he thought with a grin. Maybe I'll even tell them I understand better now about heaven and how good it will be to go there someday.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
Have you ever been away from home for several days? What exciting things did you see and do? What did you miss about home? It’s fun to go on trips and experience new things, but like an old song says, there’s no place like home. That’s especially true for Christians. Because of God’s goodness, you can have some wonderful times here on earth. But if you’re a Christian, nothing compares to your final home—heaven.
TODAY'S KEY VERSE: (Philippians 3:20)
Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior . . . Jesus Christ.