Monday, January 25, 2016


The hours speed by and the days pile up and suddenly people are telling you it is anno Domini 2016.  And just like that, it's been six months since you blogged.

Do people even blog any more?

You realize with a start that you have very little idea what is going on beyond the borders of your own heart, which has needed careful tending for so long.  But now that you look around, the world seems hardly recognizable.

There is a bumptious megalomaniac with bizarre hair running for president and self-proclaimed conservatives are fawning at his feet.  Can this even be for real?

The pastor who has suffered in Iranian prison for three years is abruptly released and you watch a video of him, stepping off a plane in North Carolina into the arms of his weeping mother.  You weep, too, for you have prayed for this brother over and over; now God has delivered him and it is surreal.

The beloved people you left ten months ago are having weddings, having babies, having funerals, advancing the gospel, making moves of their own.  It is strange and joyous and heart-wrenching that all of this goes on without you.

But then you are granted a grace of magnificent proportion: two weeks with your family for the holidays.  Here, you are relieved to discover, is constancy.  The quiet rhythm of steaming oatmeal every morning and hands held in prayer every evening.  Yet—the hands are growing older and it is only a matter of time before this haven is fractured by change, too.

On the late flight back east, you study the tiny points of light below.  They outline the grid-like infrastructure of the plains, gradually replaced with the twisting roads of the Appalachians and her foothills.  Which do you belong to?  There come the familiar pangs of homelessness.  Sojourner.

In the darkness above the Ohio River you are given a single word: abide.


"Abide in me," Jesus told his followers (John 15:4).  "Abide in my love" (15:8).  Centuries prior, an unnamed psalmist proclaimed, "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, 'My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust!'" (Psalm 91:1-2).

The "where" is a "who."  And he is omnipresent, everywhere at once.  Even more intimate than that: he indwells you.  So closely is your life tied to his that both are true: you abide in him and he abides in you (John 15:4-5).  "Home" is a "him."

Like the snail, you take your Home with you wherever you go.  You are snug and safe, and it hardly matters what changes around you or where your feet land.

This landing comes with a bump as the plane touches down on the mountain and quickly decelerates to avoid plummeting down the other side of it.  The door opens.  You are home.  You are home because he is here, around you and within you and you in him.

Abide: here is the word you take in your hands like an anchor at the beginning of a new year, heaving it down through troubled waters to solid bedrock.  You have walked by faith not by sight.  You have moved and now it is time to stay.  Abide.