If life is a highway, you’d think it would be smoother! I’m not sure what your life highway is like, but mine is more like the infamous Telegraph Track than a super highway. Could somebody call roadworks? Instead of sweeping bends of smooth tarmac with lighting down each side along the sealed shoulder and cleared sides, I find myself jarring through potholes concealed by shadows, tracks that turn out to be trenches and river crossings that wash over the bonnet with the odd crocodile lurking about.
It seems this perilous pursuit of living your one life for maximum impact does not create a pleasure cruise kind of experience! It’s more an adventurer’s life than a tourist’s. A tourist chooses their comfort level, pays a known price, visits and experiences the good and the bad of their chosen destination and then returns to the comforts of home. An adventurer sets out sometimes to an unknown place, traverses hard places and has no guarantee of a successful mission, the price and level of sacrifice they will pay, who they will travel alongside and if they shall ever return ‘home’. What even is home?
Abraham was told to leave his home, his family, his known experience and ‘go’. No location given. He lived the adventurer’s faith-focused, life-laying-down kind of life. Gutsy. I’ve always said there’s a fine line between stupid and brave and only time proves which side of the ledger you landed on. I think the jury is still out on my current adventures! The faithful hear ‘go’ and they go. Well… some of us argue, debate and barter and thengo… I like to think I’m a work in progress and thankfully God hasn’t given up on me yet.
God packaged up our dreams, callings, abilities and experiences and slapped a delivery address on it far away from ‘home’ and we went. When something seems so deliberately planned by Him and so confirmed by others and all the doors seem to have automatic door openers for you to step through as your foot hits the threshold, you kinda expect some smooth highways as well. That was a rookie error. Best grab your muddies and swap out your highway tyres for more suitable tread!
It’s a wild ride traversing the gap between what you know and your new foreign land. Your known has been home. It has your family, your friends, your community in all its forms. It has the people that know if you’re not ok in a glance, it has the sights, sounds and smells of all things familiar. It has big hugs and shouts of hello everywhere you go. It is an exhibition of your memories from one end of it to the other. Yet, once you know you are to go, an internal shift takes place and it’s not quite home anymore. Behind is no longer home, the gap is not home, and the new foreign land is not home. What even is home?
Home is not your residence. Home is not a town. Home is not ‘wherever I lay my hat’ or lay down to sleep or even wherever my family is. It would seem to me that home is not dissimilar to the seemingly all-encompassing term ‘wellbeing’. There are physical needs that have to be met, but there are spiritual, emotional, social and mental needs that also have to find connection points for ‘home’ to be established. There is an internal sense of ‘I’m home’ that can’t be manufactured, resourced or forced. It just appears one day… or maybe it doesn’t. I lived in a place for 5 years without that sense of ‘I’m home’, and have arrived into other ‘foreign lands’ and instantly felt ‘I’m home’ with little personal connections to even secure that sense. Other times a sense of home grows.
I’m living in the homeless gap. Displaced. Home is not behind me, home is not in front of me, home is not within me. I’m an adventurer on the way to a promise not yet realised. It’s a bewildering time to navigate and the compass is swinging all directions. There’s gravitational pull to family now far away, there’s hope propelling forward all amongst sporadic flurries of confusion. It’s harder than my optimism would like to acknowledge, the cost greater than what’s comfortable. Yet here we are. Faithful adventurers do not quit. Many things can be said of me, not all of them great, but may I always be found to be spending this one life as a faithful adventurer in pursuit of God’s will.
Home will come, and even if it doesn’t, is that really the goal of life anyway? The benefit of longing for home is that it reminds me that our true home was never meant to bear an earthly address anyway. As lovely as ‘home’ is for those in the joys of knowing it, even that glory will not compete with coming home to Jesus. That will be the fulfilment of all things. That is the ultimate joy set before us. So, fellow adventurers, lets journey on, to and through the dips, bumps and wild terrain before us and keep our eyes fixed on the One who is our true home.