14 September, 2015

Stability is an illusion

Today I've been out most of the day meeting with people. A great day, but not for blogging. I found this blog post some time ago and it resonated with me: Longing for a better country

A quote:

But if there is one thing this life has taught me, it’s that I must hold loosely to everything.  Everything.  I can’t put down roots anywhere; I will never find stability.   Even if I spend my whole life here, I will never be allowed citizenship of this country.  I will never be allowed to own property here; I will never grow old in one house.  I may someday have to evacuate with the clothes on my back.  Or, I could just get robbed blind.
I’m reminded that I can’t love this life so tightly.  This life is not all there is, and it’s definitely not worth fretting over.  After all, can I ever ensure the protection of my earthly treasures?  Even if I was to live my entire life in one house in America, would I be guaranteed stability and safety?  It’s just an illusion, and my transient life as a foreigner helps me to remember that reality.
Today over lunch with Japanese friends safety came up. Is it safer in Australia or the US or Japan? Disasters continue to occur in Japan, for example, some freak flooding last week, and then an earthquake out in Tokyo Bay on Saturday morning. The prediction that "the big one" (earthquake) is coming to Tokyo soon continues to be proclaimed by authorities and the media.

But again I come back to the truth that safety is an illusion. I could be hit by a bus tomorrow. There are some things I can do to prevent that possibility, but I don't have 100% control over what happens.

Stability is also an illusion. I can set up a stable lifestyle. Do my best to provide routine and put my roots down as best I can. But as the author above says, my best isn't enough. We were heading for a nice level of stability a fortnight ago when one of my kids developed an infection that landed him (and us) in hospital. Bam. Stability in the short-term smashed.

As missionaries we are confronted more than many people by a lack of stability. Many missionaries are envious of the stability in our lives currently: that we've moved back into the same house that we lived in last term. Most missionaries don't get to spend more than four years in the same house.

There is a blessing in all this, though, it helps us to lift our eyes up and find our treasure, our security, stability in our Lord. To find peace in the midst of the knowledge that our safety could be at risk, we're thrown onto our Lord.

2 Samuel 22:32-34New International Version (NIV)

For who is God besides the Lord?
    And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength
    and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
    he causes me to stand on the heights.

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