Image courtesy of Zachary Collier via Wikimedia
We have a unique perspective on time – those of us in the missionary community who regularly have to make transitions between places so distinct and different – that it seems more like popping in and out of a parallel universe than traversing the same globe. These transitions remind us that we are sojourners engaged in eternal matters, ever mindful of the brevity of life.
Preparing for home assignment this past year was like being on a raft heading toward an eventual waterfall. When it was far off we saw it on the map and knew we had to prepare for it, but the current still seemed calm and familiar.
When we bought our tickets it was as though we could begin to hear the distant falls and the reality of it started to sink in. Drawing closer the pace quickened; prompt decisions were made like the averting of protruding boulders.
Possessions needed to be abandoned. When departure was a few days away there was no escaping the ever-escalating frantic current. Ready or not – the dramatic fall was upon us. In the last moments we said our good-byes, secured our belongings and discovered ourselves airborne.
Now that we have landed in the United States, the metaphor has been eclipsed. What seemed like a waterfall now seems to be more like the falling sands of an hourglass.
There was the constant feeling of time running out and being drawn toward a single transitional moment when our world got tipped upside down. Instead of being an end, it was a beginning, and we find ourselves on a new mound of sand beginning the next short chapter of our life.
After being here only a few weeks we feel the sand ticking away. After a short time in the States, we will again pass through that transitional moment upending our life. For us that single moment was the plane ride over the Pacific Ocean to the other side of the globe, but we all pass through life-changing transitions whether a wedding, a disability, a birth, a significant loss, or a new job that turns our world on end, for better or worse.
These transitions are key moments to remember that the sands of time are in God’s hands. Even though our life may get turned on end, every loss is a new beginning leading us, ultimately, to a single glorious transitional moment from this life to eternity.