One of the challenges in our season of transition is that I feel like I’m constantly pulled in two different directions. I knew that this was going to be the practical reality for the first few months, but I think I underestimated the toll this would take on my heart. On one hand Ken is already in the Palmerston area, beginning to build relationships, and working on preparing our new home and for obvious reasons a big part of my heart is there with him. At the same time, I’m living in a home that I love, amongst a church family and community whom I love, and working with the clients of Living Water whom I also love. Trying to fully invest my heart in both places is extremely painful – wherever I am it’s a fight to get my heart to fully follow. The long drive between Palmerston and Kingsville has given me lots of time to reflect on this reality and while there’s much more reflecting time ahead, here’s my initial thoughts and lots of difficult questions with which to prayerfully wrestle.
As a follower of Jesus, my whole life should be lived with a foot in two places. The author of Hebrews encourages his reader with this reminder when he writes, “…here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” (Hebrews 13:14, ESV). Likewise, Paul writes to encourage the believers suffering in Philippi to not get bogged down in the stuff of earth, but to recall that their citizenship is heaven and encourage them to wait for their Saviour to come from there. (see Philippians 3:20) You and I are part of this world and citizens of the kingdom of heaven. I find myself a little challenged by this truth again. How often do I get bogged down in the stuff of earth? How often do I find myself satisfied (even for a fleeting moment) with desiring the stuff of this world? What about those moments that I fail to seek the good of this land and its inhabitants? How often do I fail to recognize and behave like I’m an ambassador of another kingdom.
This foot in two places reality will inevitably be painful at times. I love Paul’s wrestling and reasoning in what I think of as his “should I stay or should I go” passage in Philippians 1. His heart is being torn between his desire to depart and be in the presence of Jesus (which he says is far better) and fruitful ministry among the Philippians (which he says is more necessary). I’m not currently facing Paul’s choice to stay or go, but in light of being an inhabitant of this world and a citizen of another, I’m grieved by the tension of knowing (at least from Scripture) how life is supposed to be here and the reality of living in this fallen world. Life here can be painful and difficult – anyone who has suffered knows that – but is my heart equally pained by being at a distance from my Saviour?
This foot in two places reality presents an opportunity. Seeing the disconnect between what happens here and knowing the way things were supposed to be is an appropriate occasion for grief. Like all trouble, this pain presents us with a choice to be made. God confronted his people who were making the wrong choice with these words from Hosea “They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds… (Hosea 7:14). Will we cry out in our grief and pain to the Lord, or will we simply cry?
The foot in two places reality is time limited. There will come a day when I will be fully and finally home. The watching and waiting, the striving and suffering, the longing and choosing will all come to an end as all who put their hope in Jesus will find their rest, their true and eternal home in his presence. Are you looking forward to that? It’s one thing to look forward to being settled in our new home, working on this ordinary experiment but as good as it will be for my heart to not feel so torn between two homes, it will pale in comparison to that day. Come Lord Jesus!