Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Tea

The Far Country... that is what Luke called it (in the King James Version of the Bible). I'm not sure why, but my ponderings this week took me to that Far Country.

I was whining to God as my body rebelled against the second week of long hours at work, asking why He didn't just drop money into my bank account to pay for Christopher's education. I enjoyed the work and the people but I felt horrible physically.


That is when the concept of the Far Country came to my mind. In Dr. Luke's account, it is the younger son who sends himself to the Far Country. There he finds himself tired, broke, hungry, and totally dependent on another person. He was in a place he did not want to be. In this case, it was the work of his own hands that brought about discomfort.

However, that evening as I lay in bed with the room spinning around (or so it seemed), God brought to me the realization that HE often leads us into the Far Country. We find ourselves in an uncomfortable place when we prefer to be well fed and "at home"... comfortable. My Far Place was at an air conditioned book store where I was treated with kindness. It was my own body that complained at the amount it was being pushed beyond what I thought was endurance.

There have been years in my life when the Far Place really was... far away. Those years when He moved us to locations I didn't really want to go, often keeping us lonely for true friendships. There were the delightful places when we met friends who became closer than sisters and brothers. We enjoyed living in beautiful towns with quaint stores and restaurants, along lakes and rivers, near tall trees or open skies. Many, however, were difficult places that stretched our faith and brought us closer to Him who sent us there... the only source of fellowship... our One True Friend, and to each other.

I don't know why we live with illness, tired bodies, minds that get confused at times, cranky people, difficult bosses, family members who do not understand, anemic bank accounts, and circumstances that test us. It has something to do with being molded and shaped into His image. I know He will move us across the world to reach one person, if we are the instrument of His grace to another.

Perhaps this world is the true Far Country, as we are "pilgrims and strangers" just travelling through. We are not Home. In the interim, I must remember He did not call me to be comfortable, He called me to be conformed to His image. Sometimes that means visiting the Far Country, as He did... to redeem His Beloved.

12 comments:

Brandy said...

Today our pastor talked about sufferings. He said that we suffer many ways. We suffer because we do not have the latest greatest things. We suffer because of our sin. We suffer because difficult things happen to us, like sickness, death, and so on. But in our suffering we can remember the One who truly suffered. Jesus. And that He suffered before us and for us. That we should remember that Jesus is with us in our times of suffering. He ended the service by taking Communion so that we could focus on the sufferings of Christ and think less of our everyday so called sufferings. It is good to know that we are not alone in the Far Country. It is also good to know that this is not our home forever! And that we have hope of a place with no suffering!

Quinne said...

I love the image the "far country" places in my mind. Thank you for sharing your heart. Love, Q

3M said...

Great post. I think that in the past I have thought that because I'm a Christian things OUGHT to be comfortable. You're exactly right. We only OUGHT and NEED to conform to Him.

Cathy said...

That was a very nice post. The conclusions you came to are true. This world is definitely not our home. And Jesus certainly was not comfortable all the time.

Mrs. Elliott said...

Thank you for the encouragement, I am heading back to my "far country" tomorrow. I needed this reminder!

Heather said...

Thanks for your thoughts on the "Far Country". It is encouraging to be reminded of the fellowship of others when one is in the Far Country oneself.
I've been spending part of the day reading a wonderful book on prayer by Bryan Chapell. It is all about conforming our prayers to God's will (versus ours). I've been copying down quotes, and one of them is: "We may least want what an infinite, wise God will most bless!" Isn't that so true?!

G.L.H. said...

Thank you for the reminder. It makes it easier, knowing whether we put ourselves there, or the Father leads us there, He knows where we are, and he is just a call away.

Tealady Tammy said...

thank you for sharing, I really needed to hear this today. It is good to know that we will not always be in that far place.
Blessings on your week ahead

freddie said...

Thanks Brenda, In my breviary I have written the only phrase that sometimes gives me a good push. Jesus said "I HAVE WON THE WORLD" and that's it for me, I feel I don't need to ask any more "WHY?". Thank you again
Pace e Bene
br.Freddie

Anonymous said...

What a good, thoughtful post. My Far Country was a hospital room (actually several, at different times) with a small, sick daughter. She's bigger now, and mostly healthier, but I will never forget those times.
Nita in SC

Misc. Muse said...

Brenda- it's so good you will be able to pay off Christophers books. Do give you feet a good soak and some lavendar. I think a lot is weather too- if it was so hot. I'd enjoy rain Sat if I could have stayed in bed all day. Today my ashma bothered me first time in long time. Working just some will be nice. See you!

Maggie Ann said...

The love of God is wondrous...oh how seldom we discern the truths of traveling through this life as you set them forth. I liked your post...it makes me stop and think.