Lord, you have been our dwelling place, throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Psalm 90:1-2
Old house-an acre on the main drag.
New house-five acres in the hinterlands.
Old dwelling-two-story brick schoolhouse.
New dwelling-brown cedar ranch.
Old house-wood burning stove.
New house- natural fireplace.
Old dwelling- great big deck.
New dwelling- great big dining room.
Old house- built-in pantry.
New house- built-in bookshelves.
Old dwelling- 3 car detached garage.
New dwelling- 2 car attached garage.
Old house-plentiful perennials.
New house- plentiful hickories.
Old dwelling-friendly neighbors.
New dwelling- where are the neighbors?
Tonight is night 6 in the “new house.” A mere 3 miles from the “old house,” the “new” one inexplicably seems half a world away. Routines and patterns developed in 16+ years dwelling in any one place don’t fade in a week. Memories mingle. Our married life begins in the hand crafted “master pad” Jim built. Sam’s first night after we picked him up at O’Hare. Bringing Gabe home from the hospital. Countless happy parties under the old maple on the deck.
I miss the sunshine and the neighbors, the roses, the deck. I enjoy the spacious living/dining room (that doubles as a workout room and Lego Ninjago battle stage), the hiking path out back (notwithstanding ticks aplenty) and cool, quiet night air in our bedroom (skunk spray aside). All life’s choices bring trade-offs. Perfect moments-yes, by God’s grace. But absolute unbroken perfection, absent this side of heaven.
More than once this week, my mind flashed back to a night seven years ago.
Days before their return to Ethiopia, our missionary brother and sister-in-law share dinner with us. Nieces and nephews wrestle with our one year old Sam, then we play a few hands of Rook, all delaying the inevitable. Their six-month stateside furlough would conclude and three more years would interrupt our fellowship. When we can put if off no longer, we prepare for good-bye. We gather on the living room floor and Dan opens the Word. He reads the prayer of Moses, the man of God.
Moses, whose own “old house-new house” move shrinks my own to an infinitesimally tiny hop. Moses, who by faith chose to suffer the affliction with the people of God rather than enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin for a season. I venture to guess, part of that affliction, may have been his lack of a permanent home.
Moses, whose 40 years of wilderness wandering, tent time travel, surely must have made him crave a more permanent dwelling. Moses, who the Lord spoke to face to face, as a man speaks to his friend, dwelt where I want to dwell. Wooded acres or sunny corner- no matter.
Lord, you have been our dwelling place. All of ours: Missionary family and friends, who find new homes for the Kingdom’s sake, refugees from Syria, Nigeria, Egypt forced out, homesick college freshman living first days in dorms. Our dwelling place.
Moses’ and mine.
And I’m home.