There is something exciting about going to a new country… new people to meet and different places to go that can keep us looking forward to new sights and adventures, whether it may be white beaches and palm trees, snow-covered mountains and rivers, or unique foods, flavors, and aromas. There is a world full of possibilities, just waiting to be discovered.
And then, you wake up one morning in a cheap hotel on the coast of South East Asia only to realize that white beaches and palm trees cannot heal a homesick heart. All the fascinating strangers in the world can never replace “your people” or “your culture”. And if you could choose to eat anything in the world, you would probably choose your favorite home-cooked meal that your mom used to make for you…if you only could.
You look in the mirror, and the only familiar face in the city is staring right back at you. That can be a lonely and discomforting experience, especially if you don’t like yourself. In moments like these, we need to know that God is with us, and that He will never forsake us. His enduring love for us enables us to love the familiar face in the mirror as well as the multitudes of strangers around us, no matter how “strange” they may be.
I have learned that if one does not have peace in his heart, which only comes from knowing God and His forgiveness, he won’t find it anywhere else. When we remain strangers to Him – separated by sin, guilt, and shame – peace with ourselves and our surroundings is unattainable and elusive.
If you hope that money, a new job, a loved one, or some new destination will one day make you satisfied and complete, you will be disappointed. And all the while you are running after greener pastures elsewhere, you will be not be able to appreciate the beauty of your own backyard. Jesus was very clear about setting priorities for contentment and happiness:
Perhaps you feel stuck because you always wanted to travel the world, but you have to raise your family first. Or, maybe you’re travelling the world all by yourself and you would give anything to be raising a family instead. Remember that you may be living someone else’s dream. Enjoy and be content in where you are right now.
Many have witnessed the beginning of an awesome sunset and totally missed the full impact of nature’s performance by scrambling for a camera to snap a photo to share with others. Instead of “capturing” the moment, it slips away and is lost forever.
I have learned from my travels that:
· Travel does not provide an escape from personal flaws and failures
· Being in a new country only changes where we are, not who we are
· Having a blank page to write on doesn’t make us new
· We can never run from God…He is everywhere
I am grateful that no matter where I am, I need to go the same distance to get on my knees to acknowledge God’s presence.
Not only is His name written in the sky and embedded in the ocean, He is in the details of His creation, in every flower petal and fragrance that comes forth.The whole firmament declares His existence and presence.
And somehow, He is always ready and willing to help us sort out our messy lives…God with us.
I know that I have much to learn… including a new language, culture and way of life…but for now, I simply hope to learn to be present in the moment, to be grateful, and to make the most of what I have and where I am…to savor the moments of life while God is changing me into His image.