Once upon a time I thought I had my life largely figured out. I knew of course life was full of uncertainty and bad things happen all the time. But I never thought they’d happen outside of the foundations I had established.
College education. Check. Good career. Check. Loving wife. Check. Half million dollar home in the suburbs. Check. Everything else seems like it would be on autopilot at this point.
I was mostly very certain about my future. I thought I had nailed everything down securely. I had obtained upper middle class white boy utopia. I knew I wouldn’t get everything I wanted out of life. But I was setup to live a very good life, and I had obtained more than I ever dreamed for myself.
But then it all got upended. My dog died. My wife left. My dream home was liquidated. And a year into my new journey, I find myself having to move yet again. Sometimes I feel my life is like a broken country record album.
Originally I planned on renting a townhouse for a over a year, and then trying to buy a place to call my own. But those plans got short changed as my landlord decided to exit the rental market. As a result, he wouldn’t renew my lease and I had to find somewhere else to live– quickly. But, that won’t afford me enough time to buy a home in this hyper competitive market. So, I have to continue to live the life of a transient, and to rent yet again.
Being a newly minted 40 year old, I would have imagined my life to be much more stable by this point in my life. Yet, here I am, floating adrift, not quite sure where I will yet end up. This process has me realizing how much I yearn for something more secure and permanent. Something that I think, if we were to say the quiet part out loud, most of us really long for in our hearts.
Yet here I am, 40 years old, longing for a more sure foundation, yet not finding anywhere permanent to lay my head or call my home. This has had me pondering a lot about a passage in Hebrews 11, the famous “Hall of Fame Of Faith” passage in the BIble. It recalls a story I’ve been thinking a lot about lately when it talks about the life of Abraham.
Abraham had lived a long life in city of Ur of Chaldes. He was 75 years old, married, wealthy, and a family man. Yet God called him to forsake all that, and to take him on a journey in which He promised to show Abraham a new land that he and his family would one day inherit forever and ever.
And as part of that journey of faith that Abraham took, in which God showed Abraham the promised land, Abraham never was allowed to settle in that land. He spent the next 100 years of his life living in a tent, always on the go, and never finding a place to truly call his home. He never owned more than a couple square feet of the land God promised him. And, what he did possess was nothing more than a couple square feet that he used to bury his wife.
Abraham died without receiving that which God promised. And so did his children, and his children’s children. Centuries would pass before his descendants would settle the land that God had promised, only to lose it all over again due to war and exile. And while many Jews have since found their way back to the land promised to Abraham, to this day there’s still this sense in which things are not so permanent.
You and I might not be Jews promised a strip of land in the Middle East. But I think there’s still this longing all of us have for that which Abraham longed for. It’s something I certain long for. And it’s something I think most of us chase after. Yet for all our longing, chasing, plotting, and yearning, nothing we ever obtain in this life is as permanent as it seems. Any sense we have of being settled is constantly under threat of and frequently upended.
And while I believe this yearning we all have is a good thing, we put far too much stock chasing after in this life what will forever remain an illusion. Nothing in this life is sure. Nothing in this life is permanent. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken, so that which is eternal can remain.
I think when we find ourselves yearning for a more sure footing in this life, a sense of permanence, we all need to realize this yearning is from God, but the notion that we will ever obtain this in our present life is but a dream. A dream that will only be satisfied in the establishing of the kingdom of God, and a new heavens, and a new earth.