“Do we have to wear masks?” This is the question my children ask a lot these days… At the dentist: yes, we do. At the orthodontist: no, we don’t. At the supermarket: I’m actually not sure. While some parts of the world are in a hard lockdown, my host country seems to be done with Covid, or at least the related regulations. The general consensus seems to be that people want to “go back to normal” and “continue with life as we are used to pre-Covid”. As much as we desire to go back to the normal we all miss: we will not be able to do that.
Too many words have been said dividing communities and families. Too many actions have been taken as we responded to the “new normal” that can’t be undone. And as we try to figure out what the changes we have experienced in how we view society, government, community, and even God, we realize that we ourselves have changed. This is normal. This is what happens in transition. What once was, seems to disappear in the distance. And what is to come, is not here yet and we are not quite sure what it will look like. As we wander the space in the middle, between what once was and what will be, it often feels as if we are lost.
C.S. Lewis once said that when we have lost our way, the quickest way forward is usually to go home.
I love the quiet wisdom this giant of the faith gives us fellow travelers. And yet, what is home? Many of us translate that as going back to what once was. There is something in us that wants to recreate the safety of the familiar and known as it once was.
Having lived abroad for more than half my life I am confronted each time I return “home” that I don’t fit anymore. I grew up as a Swiss. I learned to think and behave like a Swiss. Swiss values are still very deeply ingrained in me. I long for Swiss food, reliable public transport, and a system that I know – among other things. And yet, each and every time I return to the place of my childhood, I realize that I don’t fit anymore. I have experienced how life shaped me, how different cultures shaped me and how walking with God has and still is shaping me. I am one of the many Kingdom workers who struggle to define where home exactly is…
By now means are we the first people feeling like we lost our way… Both the Old Testament and New Testament writers simply state that we are aliens, pilgrims, foreigners, strangers, and even exiles. Scripture teaches us that home is not a place on this earth, as cozy and enjoyable as some of them are! The place to find safety, peace, and belonging is not in the places we grew up or the places we have known. We are still on the way back home. Already Moses, the man of God, prayed: Lord, through all generations you have been our home! (Psalm 90:1 NLT)
When God is our home, C.S. Lewis' observation invites us to come into God’s presence. When we feel as if we have lost our way, come back to God. When we are not sure how to deal with the confusion and changes, come back to God. When we wander off and find our own ways, come back to God.
To again quote C.S. Lewis, we can't go back and change the beginning, but we can start where we are and change the ending. We can’t make the past two years go away nor can we live as if they never happened. We can, however, refocus and where we are heading. My challenge today is to find my worth, my belonging, and my significance in God – not in ordering my circumstances to a preferred reality I approve of.
How about you? What does God being your home look like for you?
Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash