I didn’t expect it to hurt this much: the leaving. the last-time-to-see this or that person. the last drives on intolerably bumpy roads that I’ve taken anyway. the last glimpses of once-green fields beginning to brown under the summer sun.
I’ve been watching these fields for years now, through the sowing and growing and flooding and harvesting and replanting. I’ve seen them grow green, yellow, and gold, flourishing because the seasons were right, fluid, moving at just the right pace, like the sun: going up, over, and down each day. The rhythm is known. Normal.
I’m a part of that rhythm. (So are you, wherever you are).
A part of the sowing and seeding, the treading, the tilling. The watering and watching….and the insufferable waiting. And whether it’s harvest time or not, many of us are being uprooted. Some rather roughly, the season change not yet known. The latter rains not yet drenching our souls with fresh vision and wisdom. It’s dry. And we feel alone. The uprooting of us: our roots, our roofs, and our routines—nothing about this feels good. Nothing about this makes sense, the tension in our hearts rapidly becoming too much.
We’ve joined the sun here, set our clocks and our days by its rhythm, and now we must set them to a different one? Even this simple time change seems overwhelming.
But that’s exactly what remains.
We follow that sun to a different place and time of orbit, but it is still the same sun. Moving, orchestrating, ripening, letting loose its light all around. Will we let it light us up? Will we walk, remain in its light, exactly where we are, even if not where we want to be? Even if our roots aren’t given any true earthly soil?
Will we follow the Son? Will we remain in Him? Even if it means remaining uprooted?
A friend who I should’ve said a proper goodbye to (but didn’t, too overwhelmed to figure out how) sang a song for me this week. A song about heaven. She wasn’t afraid of the goodbye, though I think she did shed some tears. The chorus, with its simple, simple Hindi broke me, as she sang—
“What is trusted of this life?”
What is trusted of this life? This word for “trust” could also be translated “reliance” or “hope,” “support” or “dependence.” The song is saying that our home is not here, our trust or hope is not in this life, but in our true home, with God.
That is what remains. And we must remain in Him.
The tension I feel in these days of soon returning is signaling that very truth to me: remain in Him, abide in Him.
And for me, right now, that means remaining uprooted:
Kneading loose the soil I’ve so long found my identity in, depending upon, hoped for.
Shaking off the dust I’ve walked in for two years from my feet.
And, the hardest one of all: Waiting with roots unburied.
I will start over, allowing my tension to be twisted and tangled up among old truths being made new within the story of transition I’m living:
Remaining rooted only in Him, my true source of identity, dependence, and hope: my only trust in this life.
Returning home to a far less dusty place of residence.
And, hardest yet again:
Revealing to others my weary heart, with vulnerability that voices:
He is my home.
Remaining uprooted doesn’t necessarily mean that He won’t cultivate a home for a here. It means quite the opposite, actually.
I’m telling you the truth: there is nobody who leaves his house or wife or siblings or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God who will not receive more than he has given up—much more—in this age and in the age to come. He will receive eternal life.Matthew 18.30
He will restore what’s lost and left behind.
Last week, I wrote about Lot’s wife, who looked back: “She lost her life by looking back at what all she had left behind instead of the mercy and favor God had given her to move forward in.”
As I explained this story to my national partner here, I said, “We are going to be tempted to look back, and to want the things, the people we left behind. But God has more for us ahead, and that’s where we need to look. That’s what we need to walk forward for.”
If it takes staying in hard, dark soil, then we can trust that that’s what He’s given in this season.
If it takes leaving home, family, security behind, then we can walk ahead, knowing that even this will be restored.
If that takes remaining uprooted, then we can rest in the hands that hold our bare, weary roots.
Because we know: the sun will still rise tomorrow.