Many Americans are the descendants of immigrants who sojourned to this country from lands around the world. With the swooshing of long skirts, the clopping of men’s boots, and the giggles of wide-eyed children, they boarded waiting ships or loaded into wagons, carrying their trunks and suitcases filled with treasured possessions chosen for the long journey.
My family is part of this American story, my great grandparents, aunts and uncles, among those who left their old countries to travel on sailing ships to America where they would forge a new life, hoping for many wonderful opportunities not afforded them in their homelands. My German great-great-grandfather arrived in Maryland with his pregnant wife and three young children around 1870, only to move on to Minnesota taking work as a bartender for several years before moving finally to Illinois to work and live for the rest of his life. Another great grandfather was a watchmaker in Northern Ireland who left home as a single man and arrived in Illinois in the 1880’s to begin farming. While there he married a young English woman who had arrived in America after going through Nova Scotia. The couple soon moved to Indiana, buying a farm of 500 acres after gaining citizenship. My great-grandmother traveled alone from Luxembourg to America’s Midwest as a teenager, unable to speak English. She lived with her aunt and uncle, learned the English language, and eventually married and raised 11 children in that city she had traveled to.
These sojourners eventually placed their feet permanently in a new place to call home. But from the time they had set out on the voyage of their lifetime, until the day they settled, they were only passing through ports of entry, noisy cities, and quiet prairie grasses.
Our lifetime, no matter how many years we have here or how permanent our circumstances may seem, is also a “passing through,” traveling towards our eternal destination. God loves us so much that He reveals the path of salvation through His Son, and tells us how to navigate safely through the temporal so that we can be with Him in the forever:
Dear brothers, you are only visitors here. Since your real home is in heaven, I beg you to keep away from the evil pleasures of this world; they are not for you, for they fight against your very souls. 1 Peter 2:11
Life is a journey of temporary ports, some wonderful places filled with God’s beauty, and some tragic examples of the fallen world around us. Trust in Christ, and diligently protect your soul by remembering that you are only a visitor, a sojourner traveling towards your permanent home.