Forty years Israel wandered in the desert, unable to claim the promise given them through Moses.
Forty years forbidden to set foot across the Jordan and partake of the bounty that lay on the other side.
Forty years of death as the rebellious ones were laid to rest because of their rebellion.
I bet they got tired of traveling. I bet they were weary of moving on. I bet they wondered (even though they had sure knowledge) just when this would be over.
And all that time, even in the midst of their heartsick longing to go back, have a do-over, make it right and the heavy weight of knowing, knowing, knowing there would be no going back, the LORD was in their midst-a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night-He was there.
I understand completely.
Sundown yesterday began the Feast of Tabernacles for Jews around the world. It’s a seven day period to celebrate God’s faithfulness in the wilderness and to remember that this world is not our home.
I think it is a beautiful tradition and a wonderful way to speak truth to our hearts.
Because it’s easy to forget.
Unless something happens that sharpens the homesick longing that lies latent in all our hearts, it’s easy to get comfortable here. Life seems pretty good-we gather our people and our stuff around us and think, “I could stay here forever.”
But no one stays here forever.
This world is not my home.
It never has been.
And I am tired of traveling. I am tired of moving on. I wonder just when this is going to be over.
But even here, God is in the midst of it.
Emmanuel-God With Us-is near.
Jehovah-Shalom-The LORD My Peace-is speaking peace that passes understanding to my weary spirit.
I was created for a place where love and light reign and sickness and death cannot enter.
I feel it every day.
“I began to try to define the pain I felt. Yes, it was sorrow, but it was something more, something infinitely deeper. I felt it all the time, even when I was happy. It wasn’t just sorrow. It was a longing; a pining for a better place and time … no, not just a better place and time, a perfect place and time; a different reality. It felt like longing for home, but not for a home I had ever been to. I began to see that it was something like homesickness …. Perhaps Christians are the most consistently homesick people in the world because they know this world (as it is) isn’t their true home. Yes, I was home, but I was still homesick.”
~Elyse Fitzpatrick, Home