…pilgrims and travelers…

Last Monday, and last Friday were both full days of travel for my wife and I. We came to Florida for our denomination’s version of the papal appointment and Constitutional Congress wrapped into one exhilarating week of parliamentary excitement. The ministers gather every two years to discuss policy, structural issues, by-laws, and whatever else makes it onto the agenda.  I liken it to NASCAR in that it is far more interesting when there are wrecks throughout the race, though you pray that the only thing damaged is the car and not the driver.

It’s been a while since I have taken a full day for travel. Since the arrival of our second child, to say our mobility has been limited is an enormous  understatement. But as we were getting packed, and then through much of the trip, a thought kept coming to mind. I couldn’t shake the idea that, as nomadic as I felt, this is exactly how life is supposed to feel to me as a Christian. The feeling of “settled-ness” is a dangerous thing for the redeemed heart.

CS Lewis famously said this:

If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.

And this is what a “travel day” reminds me of. One of my favorite titles for followers of Christ is “pilgrims”. This name captures some of paradox of weariness, joy, and perseverance that truly defines the Christian life. We are wanderers. We are the people of Abraham, who set out from a place we know to go to pursue a place we don’t know at the propositional request of God Himself.

The discomforts of travelling for many hours is a reminder of this life to me. It wasn’t the worst pain I’ve ever felt, or the most troubling situation I’ve ever been in, but the nagging discomfort, the cramped legs, the tired back, etc… all of these things are the price I had to pay to reach my destination. Transition, in any application, is rarely a comfortable thing. Flying recklessly into the unknown is an unnerving feeling. Looking around at other travelers, wondering if they’re going to the same place you are, searching for some kind of mores to hold to when the ride gets rough…all of these things are just part of the trip we are on.

There are far more points that could be made here, but today it’s enough to ponder the implications that we, in this present world, have not arrived. Our temptation will be to make this place as comfortable as possible, which isn’t wrong in itself, but the moment we sacrifice comfort for progress we’ve stepped into a troublesome error. If my wife and I had started looking at houses half-way through our trip because we were tired of driving, we may have found a place to rest and live more comfortably than we were on the journey. However, in finding that more comfortable place, we would have found ourselves living in failure and having to deal with the nagging question, “weren’t we supposed to do something else?”

Meditate on your own journey. Have you stopped to rest, or stopped to live? Is the discomfort something that you’ve accepted as a part of the transition, or are you constantly angry that travelling doesn’t feel like home?

And more than any of the rest of this: today, I encourage you, travel. Don’t sit still. Pursue the thing that your heart was made for. Pursue the place your soul knows as “home”. Pursue the One that you know, deep within you, is the King of your native land.

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