Life comes in themes. Like your refrigerator, dishwasher, and washing machine breaking at the same time. Or everyone you run into tells you about his or her vacation last summer in Switzerland. Or you just so happen to go to three different churches within a month, and they are all preaching on the same thing.
My current theme can’t be simplified into a sentence, so I thought I’d share the different things that I’ve been running into lately. Or maybe they’ve been running into me.
I first started thinking about it in the car, when I was listening to a song by Five Iron Frenzy called “On Distant Shores.” The chorus of the song said “If mercy falls upon the broken and the poor, dear Father, I will see you there, on distant shores.” I had this quote hanging up in my room for a long time, so in the car I was thinking about why. Because when I was a kid I was neither broken nor poor. Or at least I didn’t think so. The part that I really loved was the concept of distant shores, and meeting God there some day.
I continued on with my Five Iron Frenzy playlist and again, the idea crossed my mind when another song called “Far, Far Away” played. The chorus sang,
“Can you hear the bells are ringing far, far away? Can you hear the voices singing far, far away? I know that one day soon a song shall rise. You’ll hear it with the sleep still in your eyes.”
All this talk of distant shores and far away singing made me hungry. Hungry for some Lord of the Rings. I daydreamed my way into the scene of the movie where Gandalf is talking to Pippin about dying.
“The journey doesn’t end here. There’s another path; one that we all must take. The gray rain curtain of this world rolls back, and it will change to silver glass, and then you see it. White shores; and beyond them, a far green country under a swift sunrise.
I imagined being on a boat looking out towards a sunrise and hearing distant, beautiful music. And with the sleep still in my eyes, my heart is stirred and filled full with joy and anticipation and I don’t know exactly why. But I know it’s coming, and I’m almost there.
Even now, typing it out makes my heart beat fast.
I decided to dive into the Word for similar glimpses of hope, and found this: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it, we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20)
Like Paul also says “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” But he also realizes that staying is important so he can share the Gospel and fulfill what God wants him to on earth. It’s like being gone a long time from home. I think traveling a lot helps me understand this. When I’m traveling or out of the country my heart is never settled. I never feel as truly at rest or relaxed as I am at home. Our citizenship is in heaven. So it just makes me incredibly excited to know that even when I’m “home” in Indiana, I’m not feeling how much more at home and at peace I’ll feel one day when I am approaching those distant shores.
Besides the song playing on my ipod and getting my attention, most of these discoveries were self-induced. But I heard this quote this week under completely different circumstances: “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now.”
And in a very strong and tangible way, my limited understanding makes the peace I mentioned earlier overflow into this life.