Does God really yearn for our return?

[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]

Have you ever come across some idea in the Course that you are familiar with, but that you suddenly realize you have no real, personal relationship with? That is what happened to me yesterday.

I was practicing Lesson 226, “My home awaits me. I will hasten there.” The meaning of that first line is not that my home awaits me in some impersonal sense, like, “My future awaits me.” It’s that my home is waiting very consciously for me, longing for my return. You can see this in the first lines of the prayer: “Father, my home awaits my glad return. Your Arms are open and I hear Your Voice.”

The image calls to mind your mother, on the porch of your family home, waiting eagerly for your arrival, calling to you to come home, while her arms are open wide in welcome. I realize, of courses, that God doesn’t literally have arms, but the image is there to say something about God that is literally true, that He is eagerly waiting for our return home, in a state of pure, open welcome.

I’ve known about this Course teaching for a long time, but yesterday when I tried to have a sense of God waiting for me in this way, when I tried to picture it in my mind, I instantly realized that I just don’t relate to the idea. On an emotional level, it just didn’t resonate that God would regard me as that important. It seemed far-fetched to think He actually looks at me like the father of the prodigal son, as His long-lost Son who He misses and whose return He yearns for.

And yet, this teaching is there throughout the Course. The Course says four times that God “yearns” or has a “yearning” for our return. It also says, “You are not forgot in Heaven.” And, “Your Father needs you, and will call to you, until you come to Him in peace at last.” These are a few examples of what must be scores of lines that contain this teaching. There is not doubt that it’s there.

Facing this dichotomy—something the Course clearly teaches, yet which, on an emotional level, I do not find credible—I realized that I would dearly like to believe this. I’d like to believe that God actually feels that way about me. I’d like to see all the guidance I receive as His Voice calling me home, where He waits for me with open Arms, having yearned for my return for eons.

I also realized that, however in-credible I find the idea, logically speaking it has to be true. I am truly convinced that God loves all of us with an inconceivable depth and intensity. And yet how could He love us and not care if we came home to Him?

So I’m going to work on this, to try to build this idea into my mind. My experience is that if I repeat it enough, from a variety of different angles, at some point it will click into place and feel natural. Rather than a long limb to venture out on, it will seem like a basic foundation on which I can stand. I look forward to that.