The fact that this blog’s title has “journey” in it is telling.
It means I fit the world of evangelicalism singing songs like “Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King” and “we’re marching to Zion”. Lovely songs with good sentiments. And all focused on the life of faith as a journey, a trip, a struggle. We picture ourselves as John Bunyan’s Christian struggling through sloughs of despondency and castles of despair.
All well and good. We are, after all, called “strangers and aliens” in this world. I was recently meditating on the Tower of Babel and our desire to settle down when possibly God’s called us to be on the move – to be unsettled. Jesus said explicitly – “Go!”
This constant call to journey both excites and exhausts me. It’s exciting to picture ourselves as always on a journey, always on the move to somewhere new and exciting. But there’s also something in my soul that longs for a permanent place. Perhaps it’s because I’m in the middle of two long months involving more time in hotel & guest house rooms than my own house. Perhaps it’s the introvert in me craving some personal, quiet space after a much-new-peopled month.
Or perhaps it’s because I was made for a type of permanence.
I’m shaped by an evangelical world that often exclusively embraces the “not yet” portion of the “now but not yet” conundrum.
I finally began a Bible reading program for 2012 (and I’m still trying to catch up from starting six days late…). The guide directed me to simultaneously begin reading Genesis, Matthew, Ezra and Acts. These are the four big “restarts” of the Bible – the start of the world, the start of Jesus’ entry into the world, the return of Israel from exile and the start of the church, respectively.
In each place, I noticed that God is creating a home for His people. He’s bringing them back into their own promised land. He’s placing His most dramatic act of the salvation story in the home of a long line of people, placing Jesus among their number. His Spirit moves in Jerusalem to begin the church and they instantly form into a sort of family unit – eating, meeting and praying together.
But I noticed it most in the story of Creation. God creates a garden for man. He helps man settle in by bringing all of the animals around to get names. God makes sure man has an appropriate collaborator with whom to enjoy and master this new home. I was suddenly overwhelmed with the immense care God took in creating a home for His human beings.
Maybe in the hustle and bustle of trying to be on this journey, of constantly pressing for the next destination and setting the next goal – I’ve neglected to be at home. Forgotten that “the eternal God is your dwelling place” (Deut. 33:27). Failed to lean into the delighted embrace of an ecstatic Heavenly Father as He welcomes me home from wanderings.
Perhaps our fault on the journey isn’t purely looking for places to settle down and rest. Perhaps we err when we look for home and permanence in the wrong place – like the builders of Babel – instead of the places God’s provided for us.
I suspect He’s created more homes than we realize.
Do you identify more with the “now or not yet” side of the equation? Are you more focused on living on a journey or of finding rest?