Monday, December 28, 2009


Going to visit friends or relatives can be a really fun experience. Sometimes we're returning to places we love and sometimes we're experiencing new places we've never seen before. We get to spend time with people whose company we enjoy, and we're able to leave our ordinary life behind for a while. Still, visits come with a price. When I go on visits, I don't get to sleep in my own bed or use my own bathroom. I don't necessarily get a lot of privacy. I have to spend long hours traveling to reach my destination, and I have to make arrangements for my home (especially my cats) to be taken care of while I'm gone. I like visits, but I only want to be away from home for a week or two.

It blows my mind to think of the people in the Bible who were visitors all the time. Jesus and his disciples traveled all around Israel and the surrounding country. They were always staying with other people—sometimes even people they didn't know that well. They put in a lot of miles, many of them walking. The apostle Paul traveled even more widely, staying away from Israel for years at a time. Ever since then, there have been all kinds of missionaries and aid workers who have traveled far away from their homes to help others and to share good news with them.

All of these traveling evangelists have learned something that I sometimes have trouble understanding: our true home is with God. It's true that at my house I have a comfy bed and personal space set up to my liking, but that house still isn't my true home. I will not find a true home anywhere on Earth because my soul knows it belongs with God in Heaven. I sometimes feel like a stranger in a strange land when I travel, but the truth is that I am always a stranger in a strange land because my time on Earth is one long visit. I will never be entirely comfortable here, but I will find peace when I embrace God's presence in my life. God goes with me wherever I travel, so I will always be able to have a small home in my own heart. God sends others to interact with us and love us to help bolster that feeling of home no matter where were are. The old saying "Home is where the heart is," should be true for Christians. Whenever we can feel the love of God and our fellow Christians in our hearts, we are home.

So where does this leave me? I still enjoy the house that is my Earthly refuge. I know, however, that if I have to leave that home I will still be OK because God will be with me. I like my house, but it isn't everything to me. If God calls me to leave my house behind, then I should be able to do it without despair. My house is my home because I feel comfortable there, but God and my loved ones can help me feel comfortable anywhere. So as I sit here on a couch that doesn't belong to me and think wistfully of my own couch, miles away, I remember that although I am not physically at home, I can be spiritually at home. With God all things are possible, so even though my life is like one long visit, I am also always at home through the love of my Savior.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

God Is With Me

God is with me every moment of my life. Whether I succeed or fail, whether I am joyful or hurt, God is there. As a Christian I believe this to be true, but I don't always realize the implications in my daily life. When I feel scared or lonely, God calms me. When I feel strong and independent, God is my help. When I am happy, God shares in my happiness. Consciously recognizing this fact changes the way I experience my life. The joyful moments become more joyful and the difficult times become a bit easier.

As I look back over yesterday, I can see that God was with me when I said goodbye to my mother and drove out of town. I was ready to head back home but sad to say goodbye. I don't know when I'll see my family again, and it's hard being away from them all the time. I was satisfied with the way the visit turned out, but I still feel a pang every time I leave my childhood home and my loved ones. God was with me as the miles went by and a bittersweet sensation filled my heart. He was soothing the sadness and empathizing with my love for the things I was leaving behind. I know that God was also with my loved ones, making it easier for them to say goodbye to me and reminding us all that we will be together again.

God was with me and my husband throughout our 13-hour car trip as we drove through mountains, across states, and eventually through snow. God strengthened us as we concentrated for long hours and dealt with the inevitable reckless drivers. There were plenty of people cutting others off and speeding (even through construction zones and wintry conditions) but God was there helping us to be at our best as we dealt with the hazards on the road. Even if we had been involved in some sort of accident, God still would have been with us, helping us through whatever happened.

God is with me as I return to the Midwest, feeling a bit like a fish out of water. As I realize that I am caught somewhere between the cultures of my childhood home and my current one, I know that God is with me even when I feel like I don't belong. No matter how out of place I feel with people, I am always comfortable with God and He with me. When I feel awkward, I still have a friend and ally with me whose love is constant. When I rejoice with my friends and feel most like myself, God is there encouraging me. God is with me no matter what. After a long and tiring trip, I find that fact to be especially comforting.
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