Far From Home
The Chevette was fully loaded. The small compact car and the trailer it pulled, were both filled with luggage, food, people and a motorcycle…but not a car seat…there would not have been enough room for such an unnecessary item. Six and a half of us climbed into the 5 seat vehicle. My dad and grandfather manned the two front bucket seats, and each took turns driving. My mother, who was 5 months pregnant, sat in the back seat taking care of my 13 month old baby brother, while my older brother and I crouched in the hatchback eating sandwiches and getting bored of our coloring books. The excursion began at about 4:00 a.m. from northern Minnesota and the goal was Panama City Florida…more than 1500 miles away.
I remember my dad’s words as we were loaded into the back of the small car. “This is going to be a very long trip…you need to be ready for that…I don’t you asking, ‘Are we there yet!’”
“Ok, Dad, I won’t”
After what seemed like an eternity…I couldn’t stand not knowing our position and ETA any longer…”Are we almost there?” I moaned.
With apprehensive tension my dad replied…”We have only gone 8 miles…ask me again 1500 miles from now”
It is possible that trip may have been the longest trip of my dad’s life…non-stop…through the night…moaning children and a crying toddler. Rather…perhaps it was the second longest…the longest being the trip home when we added a dog to the list of things to pack. The coon hound puppy traveled 1500 miles home in the back of the trailer vomiting and excreting at every opportunity. He is the only dog that I have ever met, that HATED car rides. I can’t help but wonder if this experience somehow scarred him?
My wife was teaching some young pre-school children at church on one Sunday morning. She asked these kids, “When have you been far from home?”
As children will do, they exclaimed their answers, all at once,…in “outside voices.”
Distance is really quite relative. Whether it is 1500 miles away or ten miles down the road, it can seem to be an insurmountable gap. For some, the distance from home to Ikea is the equivalent of Frodo Baggins going from the Shire to Mordor, while for others the task of being sent upstairs can feel as far away as Neptune.
Daniel chapter 2, takes place while Daniel is far from home. He, along with his friends, has been exiled to Babylon…over 500 miles away (as the crow flies) from Jerusalem. I wonder if Daniel ever asked, “Hey Uncle Nebuchadnezzer…How much further?”
“Quiet back there…we’ll get there when we get there!...Don’t make me pull this camel over!”
There is a great deal to glean from this chapter in Daniel. In it we can find, the incredible sovereignty of Almighty God, images of insecurity masqueraded by power, keeping our character, faith and hope while we are far from home, and the promise of a Savior who will come and establish an eternal kingdom!
In truth, each follower of Christ is far from home. We are exiles…resident aliens awaiting our permanent, eternal home. Yet, within the waiting, we are called to make this place better…proclaiming the Gospel, reflecting His image and pointing to His greatness.
“Are we there yet?”
“No…but each day we get a little bit closer!”
Perhaps we should load up the car…hitch up the trailer and bring as many with us as we go.