Random thoughts, far from home...

It is not easy, this feeling of being far from home. After all, for so many decades “Home” to me was never a place, but a person. As long as Amy was there, I was “Home.” Well, cancer took that away pretty definitively, and now I find myself in some new “away” kind of place no matter where I am.

So tonight, while I watch the clock tick past 1:18 a.m., my thoughts have been churning over what it means to find “Home” when you’re far from home. I’m wondering about wandering, I guess you could say.

In Scripture, it seems there are three ways to live in an “away” place:

  • Conqueror
  • Exile
  • Missionary

The Conqueror

A Conqueror in the Bible displaces the foreign culture, forcing others to submit to his or her new way of life.

This is the “Joshua,” marching into a foreign land, seizing the territory, razing cities, destroying anyone who opposes him, subduing and enslaving whatever he doesn’t kill (see Joshua 1:10-11).

The Exile

The Exile in Scripture assimilates into the foreign culture, far from home, against his or her will, simply to survive.

This is the weeping “Jeremiah,” forced to serve the powerful, trying to follow God’s command to Israelite slaves in Babylon: “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile … because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (see Jeremiah 29:4-7).

The Missionary

And there is the Missionary. This person goes far from home willingly. He or she adopts the foreign culture eagerly and voluntarily.

It’s the passionate “Paul” who pursues the calling to “become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).

The Most Honorable Way?

My first inclination is to think of the Missionary as the only honorable way. Conqueror and Exile are certainly somehow less, right? Yet by Scriptural standards, I must face the fact that’s just not true.

Bloody Joshua is no less a hero than tentmaker Paul, and the defeated Jeremiah is just as lauded as any Missionary or Conqueror. All three men followed God wholeheartedly, and lived God-honoring lives in foreign lands.

What’s more, Christ himself incarnated into all three of those roles. He was an Exile in the world he himself created. He Conquered sickness, sin, and death. And he was a Missionary who brought news of God’s loving grace to us all. So I find myself thinking:

It’s been 2,173 days since Amy died. I am caught in this foreign land of “not home,” and it’s possible I’ll be here for the rest of my life. So…

Who am I supposed to be in this lonely, “away” place that is so far from home?

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