Being homeless must be one of the most difficult experiences humans can endure. Imagine wandering from place to place with no expectation of adequate shelter let alone a place to call home. Divorce, illness, or unemployment has caused many to lose everything, casting them onto the street. Many have seen their hopes rise only to be shattered again and again. They are left in despair, self-respect gone.
The despair of the homeless is compounded among refugees forced from familiar homes by war. They gather with others in camps and erect plastic shelters against rain and dust and cold. One month. Two. A year. Two. Five. Again and again they’ve attempted to flee to a congenial country only to be rebuffed. Despair must corrode all their expectations.
By and large most people, be it ever so humble, have a home. Whether constructed of concrete, stone, brick, wood, or mud; most have a place to which they can go to find shelter and warmth. A place where they feel safe and at peace, a place they can decorate with their keepsakes.
In many places in the world, including Canada, we take having an attractive house for granted. It is our basic right. Our houses become a mark of our “success” as measured by their size and luxuriousness.
It is almost impossible for us to feel with those who are homeless. Indeed, the description of Christ sounds unbelievable. “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Luke 9:58) Then Jesus said, “Follow me.” Clearly, being a disciple who follows Jesus wherever He leads has priority over having a comfortable place to call home.
In truth, we idolize our homes or take them for granted. It’s extremely hard not to. During the last four or five months, God rocked our world. He gave us a little—very little—insight into being a homeless disciple. The apartment where we planned to spend our twilight years was sold. We were given notice to leave with no certain place to go.
Frantically, we beat the bushes for another apartment to rent or a reasonable condo to buy. We quickly found that those migrating from Toronto’s super-inflated real estate market had bid up house-prices and filled available apartments. Our offer for an adequate condo was instantly submerged by much higher bids. For a month or two extreme anxiety stalked our lives. Would we be forced to go far afield, join a new church, find a new doctor? Would we be able to find anything?
Fortunately, memories of how God has protected and provided for us over 56 years of marriage kept smothering our worries. Our daughter and others in our loving family kept reminding us of God’s care.
God also used Scripture during that challenging time. “Lord you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:1,2). He, not bricks and mortar, is our eternal dwelling place. Cannot He who created the world and continues to govern it provide for us?
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I
will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.’” (Psalm 91:1,2). Oh, Lord, are we resting in you as our shelter and fortress, or in a condo or house? Deepen our trust.
Finally, under God’s marvelous providence we found a condo amenable to our limitations and within our price range in a nearby town. But even at the last minute, complications arose that almost scutled that provision. It was as if God was saying, “Do you really trust me?” His provision has been so amazing and so timely, we still shake our heads in awe.
Yes, we are very fortunate in our housing but we try to remind ourselves daily not to idolize our home but to rest in the Almighty who is our real, and eternal shelter.
(Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca –Follow him on Facebook: Eric E Wright; on Twitter: @EricEWright1; on LinkedIn: Eric Wright )