Home in the Countryside
by Ryan Pryor
"God, it seems you’ve been our home forever;
long before the mountains were born,
Long before you brought earth itself to birth,
from “once upon a time” to “kingdom come”—you are God."
I took a left turn and darted down a dark hill. For a moment, my stomach sprang into my chest. The headlights of my Jeep didn't cast enough light for me to see the bottom. Scraaaape. There it was. I was officially lost. And no cell service. I continued to drive. I could've sworn I saw that tree a little while ago...
Lately, I've been thinking about this night. I've been thinking a lot about what it feels like to be lost or not have a home. There have been countless devastating natural disasters in a world the past couple of months that have stripped away people's lives and torn apart their homes. Many of us know what it feels like to be burned, drained, or exhausted by a heartless world. The psalmist knows this feeling too. But the writer also remembers what we too often forget: our home is in God. We are humans with sufferings, frustrations, heartbreaks, anger, and unending mistakes. But before this, before the creation of the universe 13.8 billion years ago, before the seas gathered and mountain ranges formed, we were divine-blessed-loved in God. We are home. The anxiety in our world today shows that we collectively feel this sense of displacement. How tragic it is that the stresses and worries of our lives has displaced us from the ancient truth etched deep in our human bones. Paul expresses it well in Romans when he wrote, "nothing can separate us from the love of God..." I often feel that sensation of the countryside--a haunting feeling of being alone and there's no GPS. But, this is simply part of a grander story--one that began before us, encompasses us, and extends beyond us. I think it's kind of beautiful that actually we are home in the countryside.
God, in you we find our home and experience your love in both the feeling of nearness beyond time and absence in our lives. May we carry this mysterious truth with us.