Waiting and Journeying

Sunday, Dec. 18:

AM Psalm 24, 29; PM Psalm 8, 84;

Gen 3:18-15; Rev. 12:1-10; John 3:16-21

I’ve always been a counter. It helps me make sense of my life.

Sixteen. That’s how many beds I slept in during our first ten months in Asia, some softer and cleaner than others.

Six. Those sixteen beds were in six cities.

Eleven. That’s the number of years that passed between leaving Asia for the first time and returning here to live.

When I went to sleep on August 17th, it was my sixteenth bed in my sixth city in ten months in Asia, after eleven years of waiting. But it was the first home here that I could call mine. I had arrived. It was time to unpack, hang some pictures on the walls, arrange the furniture, and settle down. Finally, after all of those years, my journey was over. I was ready to make order and enjoy some rest.

But here I am, several months into this new home, and I find myself still count­ing.

Fifteen. We have fifteen months until we step foot on North Carolina soil once again.

Three. It takes most parents with small children three years to learn this lan­guage well.

Four. We committed to a four-year term to begin with, and I wonder where that is leading.

Because there is always one more event to wait for, one more moment to count down to, one more goal to reach when everything will finally be in order.

Did Abraham ever count? I don’t even know how many places he laid his head, how many cities he visited, how many years he waited for his journey to end. And he never even had a home where he could hang up some pictures. Did he ever think, “Just ten more miles and we can finally rest. This will surely be the place where God tells us to settle and the whole ‘numerous as the stars’ bit starts to make sense.” Because surely if Abraham counted, he realized it would take awhile to get from one son to that many descendants.

I think of Abraham, who “died in faith, not having received the things prom­ised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar” (Hebrews 11:13), and I wonder at how small my faith is. My counting is so small—hours, days, weeks, months. Abraham looked ahead generations and into eternity. It’s not that he didn’t wait, didn’t count the steps on his journey, didn’t anticipate the day when it would all make sense. It’s that he waited for something greater, “something better…that apart from us he should not be made perfect.”

Maybe he didn’t even know that he was waiting for the one son, the other Son, who would fulfill what God had promised in ways greater than Abraham ever imagined. He came, and for those of us on this side of His birth, we wait for Him to come again.

And sometimes, when I am counting, I just need to stop and remember that one day it will all make sense. One day I will lay my head down in a place that is truly my home. In the meantime, it’s anyone’s guess what number bed that will be.

(Today’s exercise: Take a moment today and count on the ten fingers of your hands ten things for which you are grateful. If you have a chance, share those ten things with a friend.)

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