lessons in location

“Caroline Nichols.”

The voice on the other end of the line came from another world and there was no greeting when she picked up the phone – just my first and last name in a way that also said, “finally.”

It had been too long.

Then there was a kind of rustling somewhere in my soul.
“Why am I not there?” it seemed to say.

A swell of confused discontent crashed tidal waves on my stateside resolve as Ana shared stories of trial and triumph in the everyday working out of her faith. God is transforming her life, making her new. And I am not there.

___

The Lord hid my computer cord in the desk drawer this past week, I’m sure, because He knew I needed some unplugged space to breathe. He’s been teaching me lessons in location.  After living in five states and another country, I know about location. I know what distance does to relationships and how important it is to look someone in the eye. I know about airports and unfamiliar city streets and walking into a church where no one knows my name. I know a little about location and what it does to the soul when you make roots and rip them out.

Somewhere in the unplugged breathing space this week, my question of location – being there or here or somewhere else – became quite irrelevant. Because my question implies that location is about me. “Why am not there?” places all the significance and purpose on my location. And how foolish; how prideful! God, who laid the foundation of the earth and decorated the heavens, is not confined by our human understanding of location or our physical presence in any certain place.

He is always here and always there and never hidden out of reach.
He is forever present.
His
 location is always and everywhere. 

Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you will remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
but you are the same, and your years have no end.
The children of your servants shall dwell secure;
their offspring shall be established before you.
(Psalm 102:25-28 ESV)

Isn’t that beautiful? God is never lost amidst the far reaches of His creation. He is always at home everywhere and our home is in Him. 

There is fullness of joy in the presence of the Lord (Psalm 16:11) and the Lord is present everywhere! Now my physical location becomes a detail in God’s greater story. I may be present in Iowa and far from Tegucigalpa right now, but God resides in His people – He makes a home in us.

___

So, when I hear her voice from the other side of the world; when I think about all the places I am not, I breathe deep and trust that God is. My heart wants only to join with Him, wherever I am, to make known the message of His grace.

This is home; this is the always location.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

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