Searching for Home

It’s hard to describe the turbulence of soul that comes from being on the move, always unsettled. You cannot be still and breathe deeply. You cannot love the wild-growing front-lawn tulips too much, or the way the sunlight turns the living room into a golden elven forest in the afternoon. They will soon be gone. And with every big move, you are the new person all over again, trying to make friends at double-speed, weary of explaining where you came from and why you’re here.

We have lived in our current home in Taipei for thirteen months, the longest in any one place for nearly four years. This dubious “longevity” doesn’t prevent my gut fear of another uprooting. Experience leaves an imprint of expectation in our hearts. The nomadic lifestyle began in earnest when we finished seminary, after which a pastoral job and preparation to be missionaries led us to several different cities and even more homes. We moved twelve times in a span of two and a half years, and it hurt my heart terribly.

At nearly every house or apartment I resolutely unpacked everything, decorated the walls with my grandmother’s paintings and the children’s art, and brought cookies when meeting our new neighbors. I tried to make each place a home, even if it would not last long. And I grieved the loss of our previous home and the life we had built there.

I grew up in one place, but without knowing it, even then I longed to be home. I kept subtly searching for something that tingled like a phantom limb; it had to be there—my entire being reached out for it! Or was it only an untouchable dream?

I can relate to Peter when he tells Jesus, “See, we have left everything and followed you” (Mark 10:28). I reflect with some self-pity, perhaps like Peter, that we have left our family and our friends and our homeland to follow Christ. I know that dying to myself is the only path to life and abiding happiness, but even so, my heart is burdened in the midst of loss.

Jesus responds to Peter’s outburst with a longer-term view:

“Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)

His words, though demanding, are a balm to my soul. God has fulfilled the temporal part of the promise many times over. We have been welcomed into the physical homes of fellow believers when we were in need, and our brothers and sisters in Christ are our family in every way. But even more so, the fleeting losses of following Christ are nothing compared to the eternal gain.

The ESV Study Bible notes that “Jesus assures the disciples that they have answered the call and are blessed.” This pain of being between worlds is not a logistical problem, but a sign of following His call. It’s not a sign that we are failures as missionaries, but that the redemption of the world is costly. Christ bore the greatest cost of all.

The home we long for is not a phantom or a dream: we were created to yearn for our Lord’s lovely dwelling place. “My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God” (Psalm 84:2). In his earthly life, Jesus shared in our homelessness. He left his perfect heavenly home to rescue us from our sin; he had no place to lay his head. And he will return to remedy our aching hunger with the ultimate Home he prepares for us even now, where there will be no more crying or pain because the former things have passed away.

 

Originally published at A Life Overseas on December 22, 2015.

I have nothing to prove

Sometimes I think I must be a fool.

Of course, I know that much of my cherished wisdom is foolishness to God. And sometimes it’s foolish even in my own eyes. But what makes me feel quite foolish sometimes are the opportunities I’ve let go of.

If you’ve given your life to missions and ministry, maybe you can relate.

After college and graduate school, awards and accolades, degrees and dreams, we went into ministry. At first it didn’t feel like much of a sacrifice; our friends in other fields of work were also just starting out, taking risks, living like paupers. But after a decade or two, the difference between us is stark. They’re rich. They occupy positions of economic and social power. They have long lists of achievements attached to their names. And those are great opportunities to serve God.

What have we done? Survived, even thrived, in a foreign country or among a new people? Learned a new language? Preached and taught falteringly in that new language? Made fruitful friendships? Learned how to live very simply? Rejoiced and wept with people? Opened our home and practiced hospitality? Launched a church? Started a business or organization? Made disciples who make disciples?

What are those things worth? Are they enough?

At first, there’s the “cool” factor of missions: it’s “radical” to live in another country. But after a while the luster wears off, and we’re just people who have given up our own ambitions to serve Someone Else’s. It’s simply not logical in the eyes of the world.

Sometimes a sneaky feeling darts into my heart and makes me want to prove that even though I’ve chosen ministry, it doesn’t mean I couldn’t do those other impressive things. I decide to show that I can succeed with the best of them, and I labor over a project for entirely the wrong reasons: to prove that even by the world’s standards, I’m worth something! If I’m honest, part of me still hungers for that approval.

But ministry does not consistently give us that approval. Even if you started a business for missions that’s thriving, achieving all the goals you set, and becoming a fixture in the community, it’s not the same. It’s not the same glory as building a successful business in the developed world that brings millions of dollars along with social and civil positions.

If we feed our self-worth with accomplishments, missions won’t give us enough. In fact, nothing will.

If I take on the perspective of eternity, I know that being approved by the world is a poor, stingy substitute for God’s pleasure. I know what I must do: set my eyes and my joy on Christ, fulfill my calling with excellence, and be glad in what my brothers and sisters are doing. It is literally true that being faithful to God is genuine success.

And in my imperfect way, I can live this out. My husband and I, we make decisions based on eternity. But in some of my bad moments, fears and insecurities creep in, tempting me back toward that merciless treadmill to prove that I’m enough.

But I don’t have to prove a thing. I know for whom I live: He died a supposed failure, yet He lives again and rules the universe. I will neither die His death nor live His glory. And yet, in a way befitting the creature rather than the Creator, I will. I die to sin and self. I will rise again to an imperishable body and the glory of the adopted children of God.

He has proven all that needs to be proven.

Am I supposed to love people I don’t even know?

As we prepared to go overseas as missionaries, people often asked us: “Why Taiwan?” It was a good question. Out of the whole wide world, how did we choose to serve in Taiwan?

These people may not have realized it when they asked, but as Christians—both missionaries and senders—we’ve built up a set of expectations surrounding missions. There are “correct” and “incorrect” missionary answers. I found that people often expected some variation of: “We have a great love for these people.”

After a few instances of feeling this pressure, I asked my husband with some exasperation, “How can I love people I don’t even know?” Before we arrived, the people of Taiwan were certainly real and known to God, but not to me. I found it impossible to fall in love with an abstraction.

It was after we had lived among the people, come to know their stories, and borne each other’s burdens and joys, that I began to love them. Love bloomed when they became tangible to me in the flesh.

God himself doesn’t love us abstractly. The Bible is not a record of God waxing poetic about his love for us, with lots of flowery words and plenty of distance (though his poetry is magnificent). He loves us out of personal knowledge and with sacrificial action.

His love began even before our lives did; he planned each of us and the number of our days before we existed. He knit us together in our mothers’ wombs. He brought us forth into the outside world. He knows every hair on our heads. His creational love is personal and attentive to the smallest detail.

Nor did he love the world abstractly when he sent Jesus to us. The eternal Son of God, second person of the Trinity, was born as a baby boy into a specific culture and town in the ancient near east. He had a mother and a father, brothers, neighbors, a community. He spread his message by teaching and healing unique people. He began his Church with specific men whom he had come to know and love.

Then he died on a cross, a time- and culture-relevant form of execution. He bore the full weight of God’s wrath against sin as the cost of our salvation. God manifested his love by coming in weak and lowly flesh and dying an undignified death to rescue us.

We do not rescue like God does. We are only pointing others to the Rescuer who has saved us. But shouldn’t our love imitate our Lord’s?

I rejoice that God lays it on the hearts of missionaries to go to a certain place among a certain people, preparing us by giving us a passion for it. That’s an act of God. When we feel that pull toward our new people, we should thank God for giving it to us.

But if you’re like me, and you go expecting to love the people to whom you’re going, that’s enough. Love is more than interest or preference, and you don’t need to drum up a feeling of love that as of yet has no object. You prepare yourself to love your people overseas by loving your people around you right now; that is the real litmus test of what sort of love you will have on the mission field.

Love is costly, and we westerners sometimes throw the word around too loosely. In many cultures, love signifies something so deep, so permanent and “all-in,” that you don’t want to toy with it. To profess your love for a person or a people puts a level of commitment into your relationship that you may not understand from their point of view, or be willing or able to live up to. It’s not that we should avoid offering our love; rather, we should be ready to follow through with what we declare.

Some years have passed since we first set foot in Taiwan. What would I say now? Do I love the people of Taiwan? They bless me immensely. I treasure them. I am thrilled at what God is doing among them.

But it’s this student, this woman, this child that I love. It’s the specific people that I have sacrificed for, and who have sacrificed for me, with whom I have the privilege and honor of using that word to its fullest extent.

God has loved us with this personal, concrete love, demonstrated to the utmost in Christ’s incarnation. And I believe it’s this kind of love that has the chance to change the world.

Can mold really be an adventure?

Mold is my constant companion — and my undying enemy. I even composed a haiku for it, which anyone living in tropical regions will appreciate:

Mold creeps in as spores
Like fuzzy burglars intent
On stealing my shoes

It’s annoying. Not earth-shattering, just annoying. But sometimes you wouldn’t know the difference from my reaction.

Jammed drawers

G.K. Chesterton, ever the seer, playfully describes his friend’s affliction:

“Every day his drawer was jammed, and every day in consequence it was something else that rhymes to it. But I pointed out to him that this sense of wrong was really subjective and relative; it rested entirely upon the assumption that the drawer could, should, and would come out easily. “But if,” I said, “you picture to yourself that you are pulling against some powerful and oppressive enemy, the struggle will become merely exciting and not exasperating. Imagine that you are tugging up a lifeboat out of the sea. Imagine that you are roping up a fellow-creature out of an Alpine crevasse. …

“Shortly after this I left him; but I have no doubt at all… that every day of his life he hangs on to the handle of that drawer with a flushed face and eyes bright with battle.” (G.K. Chesterton, All Things Considered, “On Running After One’s Hat”)

Chesterton displays the best of his tongue-in-cheek style here, but it doesn’t mean he’s not sincere. I have no doubt that his friend continued to condemn his drawer daily, flushed face and all. Perhaps our exertion of imagination isn’t worthwhile in a matter as small as a drawer. But I believe it’s essential in the matter of the obstacles we routinely face as overseas workers.

We have plenty of jammed drawers: government paperwork, irregular verbs, difficult neighbors. Assuming that our tasks and responsibilities can, should, and will go according to plan — that is, smoothly and just like our home country — is a dangerous idea. It sets us up to feel wronged and bitter when they inevitably don’t.

Our response to a problem flows from our expectations. If we recognize that we aren’t entitled to have everything “go right” — if we acknowledge that it rarely will — then we can forestall our resentment. This isn’t defeatism, because we don’t put all our hope in our own plans. We’re not saying our work is doomed to fail, but simply that our sovereign God will lead us through unexpected twists that produce something better than we were able to foresee.

It’s tiring to know and expect that our plans will frequently be frustrated, but the alternative is to live in constant, angry crisis. That’s a level of exhaustion no one can afford.

Imagining the reality

What’s more, our annoyance and sense of being wronged by inconveniences can be turned into something else with a bit of imagination. In our case, it’s not fantastical imagination, but holy imagination, the kind that looks beyond what is visible to see the spiritual reality.

We can imagine, quite rightly, that we are struggling against a real enemy, not flesh and blood or tangible things, but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesian 6:12). Imagine that pulling out that drawer is an act of holy belligerence to defy the work of Satan and bring God’s Kingdom to bear in your sphere of influence. In fact, it is.

We pull out the drawer daily. We persevere through another day of wilting heat and humidity; we study the next language lesson; we trust God for another visa renewal; we initiate conversation with the lady next door or in the market; we offer our empathy for one more heart-rending story; we prepare the next sermon or lesson plan; we clean one more baby bottom.

In all these mundane, sometimes unpleasant things, beneath the surface of what our eyes can see, there is a deeper reality: we are in the midst of something even more dramatic than rescuing adrift sailors or fallen mountaineers. God has allowed us to be part of his work of rescuing eternal souls and redeeming the whole cosmos.

Paul exhorts us in Ephesians 6: we need to put on the full armor of God for this monumental task. Do we remember this? Do we consider that we need the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the readiness of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit — just to be fit to pull out a metaphorical jammed drawer?

Our tasks are not small tasks; done in faith, to God’s glory, there is no small task. That carefully bandaged wound in a village clinic? That cup of water offered to a beggar? That impromptu counseling session with a distraught young woman? They are of eternal significance. Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

Missions is adventure… but not how we show on social media

Chesterton sums up his observations at the end of his essay: “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”

It’s a pithy phrase; but is it trite? Can we really see inconveniences as adventures? What’s more, with the recent trendiness of “adventures,” the pursuit of which can be self-centered and showy, can we trust someone telling us to search them out?

Let’s not blame Chesterton for 21st century buzzwords. I don’t think he’s denying true brokenness; I think he’s trying to help us see the world through a lens of hopeful longing rather than annoyance.

Sometimes, when bad things happen, we have to sit down and cry. As Christians, we are people who lament, with the approval and encouragement of our God (see the Psalms). Loss and injustice drive us to sorrow and anger, a reflection of God’s anger over sin and brokenness. These things should not be glossed over.

But for lesser issues, our attitude does create much of our experience. If I personify mold as a presumptuous invader, arm myself with gloves and cleaning solution, and write funny stories about it, I can laugh and roll my eyes and feel accomplished. If I consider it an affront to normal human life, I just get mad. Picturing our problems as adventures takes the sting of surprise out of them: we expect wild things to happen.

It was easy to find the adventure in the beginning, wasn’t it? When we first land in-country, it’s easy to laugh at language mistakes and getting lost. We have fun at the alley-way market buying mysterious foods. We delight in deciphering characters on the hastily-scribbled gas tank bill. But it doesn’t last. It’s not enough. The surface level of cross-cultural fun wears off once you realize that you really can’t get cheese here, and the flying termite house infestation season is a real thing. And this is your life now.

New experiences are fun and exciting, and we get enough of a high from them to pull us through the problems for a little while. But when the high disappears, where does that leave us? Our conviction has to come from a deeper place.

The only adventure worth our very lives is that of following Jesus and making disciples of all the nations. Not only is following God the greatest adventure, the result is the most thrilling end we could dream of: not an epic photo album and gripping set of stories, but the new heavens and new earth, an eternity with our Father and the people he brought into his Kingdom.

The Myth of the Ever-Happy Missionary

I don’t know if anyone has actually said it, but sometimes I feel it in the air: missionaries are supposed to be Very Happy. We are supposed to land in our host country and immediately love everything and everyone around us, floating on clouds of ministry bliss.

But sometimes we aren’t happy.

Sometimes as much as we love the people around us, they are also frustrating and hurtful, just like back in our passport country. Sometimes a cultural practice irks or disturbs us. Sometimes the relationships we left behind pain us, like a wounded foot that can’t quite heal because we keep walking on it. Sometimes we suffer from anxiety or depression or homesickness.

Maybe it’s for a season. Maybe longer. None of us wants to camp out in those places of heartache, but we do go there, sometimes for a while. Are the hurting missionaries less of a success than the happy ones? Where did these ideas come from?

With the advent of industrialization and modernity in the West, people’s lifestyles changed in ways that the world had never seen. Child and infant mortality decreased drastically; educational opportunities advanced; work was less tied to exhausting manual labor. These changes brought definite increases in quality of life and in what could be termed happiness. The right to pursue happiness is even tied into the major founding documents of the United States.

But the “right” to happiness has brought with it an expectation and a pressure: if we’re not happy, then we’re letting down ourselves and the people around us, who shouldn’t have to experience our unhappiness. The pressure can even come from a misguided attempt to be thankful for first-world advantages: if we’re not happy, then we’re not grateful enough for the benefits we have. The pressure is compounded for Christians and ministry workers: if we’re not happy, it’s because we’re not spiritual enough to “rejoice in the Lord always.”

The Lord calls us to contentment, certainly. We are commanded—and enabled—to have a deep-running river of joy in Christ even in suffering. But we may be called to seasons of sorrow and pain, or at least discomfort and longing. Where is the mandate to be happy?

If humans hadn’t rebelled against God in the Garden, if the Fall hadn’t happened, then we would all be supremely happy, with nothing to detract from it and no knowledge that anything could. His creation plan included our ultimate happiness, satisfaction, and bliss in paradise with Him. A time is coming when God will wipe every tear from every eye, and yes, we will be nothing but joyfully happy for all eternity.

But during this in-between time, temporal happiness doesn’t come first. In this fallen world, He is bent on our ultimate joy as it coincides with his ultimate glory. And sanctification often hurts.

Being happy all the time is not the point. We aren’t Christians for that purpose and we didn’t come to our host countries for that purpose. We came because God called us, because He has work to do here.

We can look at Jesus himself to see that the servant is not above the master when it comes to hard emotions. Jesus wept over Lazarus’ death (John 11:28-35); he was angry and even violent over the money changers’ sacrilege in the temple (Mark 11:15-19); he was grieved at the faithlessness of his disciples when they could not drive out a demon (Matthew 17:17). His negative emotions laid bare the gulf between what God designed for the world, and what it is. We are not sinless like Jesus; we cannot indulge personal anger and call it righteousness. But his example shows us the value of painful emotions.

Jesus himself—Very God of Very God—experienced and expressed anger and grief, and his Father was not disappointed in him. It did not mean he lacked self-control. It meant that he saw the broken situation rightly and longed for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Even more so, it meant that he believed in God’s coming, conquering Kingdom: he knew what should be, and he trusted that it was imminent.

Our negative feelings can point to the fact that this world is not conformed to God’s ways—that the Kingdom, while already coming, has not yet come in full. They point to the reality that there is much work to do in this world and God has called us to be part of it.

Now, if we need counseling, medicine, or a variety of other helps, then we should embrace them. It’s a wonderful gift from God to have medication to help sort out our brain chemistry, and relational help to help sort out our life experiences. Every part of us was broken by the Fall, so it’s no surprise when we experience difficult emotions; when they overwhelm us, we may need to put our trust in God by trusting his common grace of psychology and pharmacology.

If we let ourselves ride out the hard emotions, without catastrophizing them to signal the end of the world or heaping on guilt and shame, these emotions can clue us in to important things. Like how God is working in us, and how we are either cooperating or resisting. How he wants to challenge us, and heal us. They can help us work through loss and pain and be soothed by the peace of Christ. And help us to know ourselves and others, growing in our ability to offer empathy.

Our sadness and other non-happy emotions don’t have to destroy us or our ministry. They can be part of cultivating a life and ministry resilient enough to withstand brokenness and yet thrive. When we feel these negative emotions, we can go to the God who felt them too.

I’m a missionary. Can I be a mom too?

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I balanced a plate of rice in one hand and a plate of curried meat and vegetables in the other. I was tackling the dinner line at a missionary retreat, gathering food for the whole family while my husband settled the kids at a table. The man in front of me introduced himself and we chatted for a moment until he stated, “So, you are in language school.” I replied that I am learning with a language tutor while I stay home with our children. I was not prepared for his response: he began berating me harshly for not being in full-time language school. I answered about being fully committed to my family and to language-learning, and then left before my tongue got me into trouble.

I am a mother of three young children with another on the way. My primary calling is to raise them up to know the Lord, and I joyfully pursue that calling. I also study the local language in a highly effective, learner-driven, multi-sensory setting, and build relationships with the women around me, using my background as a counselor in a myriad of ways. It’s a multi-faceted calling; I love it and I embrace it.

But the man in the dinner line isn’t alone in viewing children as burdens and obstacles to ministry. Jesus’ disciples keep the children away from him, worried that they will distract him from his Important Ministry Work. Jesus rebukes them and turns their ideas upside down, proclaiming that children are an example for all of us in their humility and trust. They have the proper heart orientation.

So why do some people—even Christians, who purport to believe the words of Scripture—act as though women being mothers is a waste of resources?

Being a Christian mother is almost certainly the most significant ministry that I do in our field. We are broken and greatly in need of God’s mercy, but by His grace we are living as a family of love and trust in God. My husband and I have a close and joyful relationship. Our children interact with their dad daily and know his affection for them. It shocks, confuses, and amazes our friends and students; they want to know more. One friend said that experiencing the family life of Christian missionaries completely reoriented her thinking about marriage, children, and the God we call “Father.”

God has called us missionary parents both to family and ministry, and He doesn’t make mistakes. While there are always choices to make concerning priorities, there is no necessary war between the two, but rather a world of opportunity for each to season and adorn the other. Serving others demonstrates and involves our children in the other-centered love that characterizes the Christian life. And in many settings, particularly in areas without a mature Church, being and sharing our grace-filled family is one of the most radical ways we can present the application of the Gospel.

If we shame missionary mothers away from their God-given calling, we also tell the hard-working mothers amongst us and in our passport countries that they aren’t doing enough. The woman who labors to care for her young children and blind husband, in a culture that shuns disability, serves God just as surely as any ministry project. The woman who creates a home of love for her family, and welcomes in the hurting people around her, is no less influential than someone who can point to events and numbers.

If God values children and the work necessary to raise them up to know and love Him, then denigration of motherhood is an affront to Him.

I once heard someone compare motherhood to being in a boat stuck floating in and out with the tide, because each child keeps the mother from “ministry work.” This person hinted at a life of aimless drifting borne by mothers, while others zip straight to their destinations in sleek speedboats.

But the truth is that all of us, no matter our stage of life, are equally dependent on God rather than ourselves for fruitful ministry. No one drives a speedboat; we’re all in the same rowboat being towed by a vastly bigger ship, whose Captain provides the direction, the power, and all the necessities for the journey. As for the “delays” caused by loving children or inconvenient people, or serving in mundane ways that bring us no glory—those are not nuisances but the core of the itinerary.

We mothers will invest in many people and endeavors, now and throughout our lifetimes, each of us in different ways; we do what we need to do. That freedom is a precious gift. But let’s not guilt missionaries away from being mothers. Let’s support mothers in attending to our high calling, rejoicing that God has entrusted us with something so precious as the shaping of eternal lives. Our children are a weighty gift to the world.

If our goal is glorifying and pleasing God in whatever ways He desires, then motherhood is not a deterrent but a means to fruitful ministry, because serving the “least of these” with love is serving Jesus.

Searching for Home

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It’s hard to describe the turbulence of soul that comes from being on the move, always unsettled. You cannot be still and breathe deeply. You cannot love the wild-growing front-lawn tulips too much, or the way the sunlight turns the living room into a golden elven forest in the afternoon. They will soon be gone. And with every big move, you are the new person all over again, trying to make friends at double-speed, weary of explaining where you came from and why you’re here.

We have lived in our current home in Taipei for thirteen months, the longest in any one place for nearly four years. This dubious “longevity” doesn’t prevent my gut fear of another uprooting. Experience leaves an imprint of expectation in our hearts. The nomadic lifestyle began in earnest when we finished seminary, after which a pastoral job and preparation to be missionaries led us to several different cities and even more homes. We moved twelve times in a span of two and a half years, and it hurt my heart terribly.

At nearly every house or apartment I resolutely unpacked everything, decorated the walls with my grandmother’s paintings and the children’s art, and brought cookies when meeting our new neighbors. I tried to make each place a home, even if it would not last long. And I grieved the loss of our previous home and the life we had built there.

I grew up in one place, but without knowing it, even then I longed to be home. I kept subtly searching for something that tingled like a phantom limb; it had to be there—my entire being reached out for it! Or was it only an untouchable dream?

I can relate to Peter when he tells Jesus, “See, we have left everything and followed you” (Mark 10:28). I reflect with some self-pity, perhaps like Peter, that we have left our family and our friends and our homeland to follow Christ. I know that dying to myself is the only path to life and abiding happiness, but even so, my heart is burdened in the midst of loss.

Jesus responds to Peter’s outburst with a longer-term view:

“Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)

His words, though demanding, are a balm to my soul. God has fulfilled the temporal part of the promise many times over. We have been welcomed into the physical homes of fellow believers when we were in need, and our brothers and sisters in Christ are our family in every way. But even more so, the fleeting losses of following Christ are nothing compared to the eternal gain.

The ESV Study Bible notes that “Jesus assures the disciples that they have answered the call and are blessed.” This pain of being between worlds is not a logistical problem, but a sign of following His call. It’s not a sign that we are failures as missionaries, but that the redemption of the world is costly. Christ bore the greatest cost of all.

The home we long for is not a phantom or a dream: we were created to yearn for our Lord’s lovely dwelling place. “My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God” (Psalm 84:2). In his earthly life, Jesus shared in our homelessness. He left his perfect heavenly home to rescue us from our sin; he had no place to lay his head. And he will return to remedy our aching hunger with the ultimate Home he prepares for us even now, where there will be no more crying or pain because the former things have passed away.