Most of us have sung, “I’m a pilgrim and I’m a stranger; I can tarry, I can tarry but a night…” I believe the words of that song were written to enrich our minds with the reminder that our time is temporary on this earth.
A few days ago I read lines penned by a missionary of reality hitting that she, her husband, and their young family had really moved so far away and that this formerly foreign land was now home. When first married she and her husband had spent a couple of years in that country so it was not an entirely new culture, but during the intervening years they had returned to the states and spent several years in preparation for returning there. During these in-between years, children were born, precious time was spent with family, old friendships were renewed, and close fellowships with new people were developed. Then, along came the move.
In describing the dawning reality of this foreign land now being home, this young woman’s mention of the difficulties connected with being separated by such great distances from close family and friend connections reminded me of my own transient lifestyle of so many years due to my husband’s work-related moves that resulted in our criss-crossing the country on numerous occasions. When one of our reassignments had been issued I told a dear friend, “I don’t know why we have to keep moving. Surely God knows I know what it means that I am a transient on this earth!” By then I felt I had learned the lesson very well and now, even when our moving seems to have stopped, I believe the lesson is so deeply imbedded as to never leave me.
Just as the young missionary woman will learn to live in the new land and be at home away from the land of her birth, and as I have learned to adjust to home being in so many places that are not my original homeland, we all adapt to living in this world. For some of us, we become so “at home” in this world that we forget that this is not our real home. Once we have become God’s children, we know that He has prepared a better place for us to call “home.” It’s where He is and it’s where we should long to be. Just read what Jesus says about it:
"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going." (John 14:1-4 ESV)
Moving so much has helped me learn the lesson that I am a transient on this earth, so in my thinking, it is simply a part of who I have become. I am thankful for the life lessons that have helped me better understand the words when I sing, “I’m a pilgrim and I’m a stranger; I can tarry, I can tarry but a night…”
Are you singing with me?
© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 1-25-2010
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