Admit it: there are times when you wonder if you have arrived on the wrong planet. The world seems to have gone crazy. We don’t belong here. Don’t turn away from that feeling; we really don’t! God makes it clear in His Word: we are temporarily homeless, homeless now but traveling toward our home with Him. You see this throughout the Bible, as He calls His people “sojourners” (King James word), people on a journey. Sojourners may be staying for awhile in a place, but know, ultimately, they are moving on. God called Abraham to sojourn away from his family homeland. The Israeli escaped slaves sojourned in the desert enroute to the Promised Land. And followers of Jesus are called sojourners, too. Our citizenship is not here on Earth but in Heaven. Jesus prayed for His followers, saying,
“…they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” (John 17:14b-16)
Sojourners. That’s why Peter, writing to fellow believers, referred to them as,
“…strangers [literally sojourners] in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,” (1 Peter 1:1b)
When we realize, as the song says, “this world is not my home; I’m just a-passin’ through,” life in this crazy world makes more sense. It is fresher, more invigorating and filled with purpose. Motels don’t feel like home but when you are on a journey, the temporary feel of a motel is no big deal It’s when you get stuck living in a motel, as several friends have been, after their homes were destroyed, that things get weird. It’s as though life stagnates.
When we think of this world as our permanent home, life stagnates and gets weird here, too. Our priorities become twisted. Instead of living by love we fixate on acquiring stuff. When we recognize that this life is but a journey, and make that journey with God, the natural stagnation of this world is cleansed and refreshed by the “living waters” of His Spirit.
Our journey is not aimless. We are heading toward our real and permanent home. The author of Hebrews wrote this about those who knew they were sojourners:
“If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:15-16)
When you know life is a journey, the ups and downs are better, the craziness easier to deal with. And the destination is better, too. As David wrote about his journey, the one that even wound its way through the “valley of the shadow of death,”
“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6)
Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.