just up the road


I have a picture in my mind, and I can’t seem to let it go. Maybe the picture has me and won’t let go. I honestly can’t tell which way it is.

I see God’s children in Egypt in the moment before he rescues them. I see them just on the verge of being carried away toward their true home.

They are standing, as God asked, with their cloaks tucked up into their belts, sandals on their feet, walking sticks held in their hands. They are ready. They are waiting.

They are also eating. Eating in haste, yes, but still eating. Roasted lamb can only be consumed so quickly, after all.

How excited they must have been. How afraid. Where did they get the strength to stand still, to chew and swallow, to wait quietly but in full expectation?

I want to know because I feel myself among them.

We are continuously arriving at new thresholds. What is on the other side? Sometimes we see quite clearly. A child’s birth. A new job. A move. Sometimes we see less clearly. We are filled with expectation, but … for what, exactly? We’re not sure.

And I’m wondering, given all the uncertainty, how to find the balance between readiness (bags packed, sandals on feet) and stillness (I will cook, I will chew, I will swallow).

We are asking certain questions in our house. Where will we be living this time next year? Where will our baby be born? In Florida? Somewhere new? How long will God ask us to live this in-between life?

I sat down in church this weekend, and the questions made so much noise in my head that I shut my eyes. I wanted to give them my whole attention. I wanted to listen to my questions more than I wanted to listen to Scripture. Or prayer. Or a song. So, I didn’t see the words of the next worship song flash onto the screen. I heard them.

There’s no place I’d rather be than here in your love

That startled me. In my mind, I heard new, much more insistent questions: can I sing these words? Are they true?

I don’t know if they are true for me. That, however, may not be the best question to ask.

Here is the question I am asking: how do I make these words true?

I sang those words. I’m still singing them.

They may not be a statement of fact, but I think that they are something better.

They are a prayer.


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