In this world, many of us who believe there is eternal life after mortal life would loosely call ourselves “sojourners”.
To be a sojourner means you are a on a journey, without a permanent home or settlement. A sojourner might stay in one place longer than their last stop, but that’s just dependent upon how long the season surrounding that stop may take. A sojourner identifies with the people and location they are dwelling with and in because they know that the key to thriving is diving into the hearts and mind of those that surround them by looking at life through their eyes. Such a relationship with each stop along the way will make for a good, healthy journey. The sojourner’s end goal is to arrive at a place they will remain at forever. Such will be a place they are most healthy, most happy and most satisfied. Sojourners may move in groups or alone, but whomever desires to sojourn with them, in search and en route to this perfect residence, they will not turn away.
If eternity spent with Jesus Christ is that perfect, final destination, then followers of Christ are the sojourners. In a physical world that is less than perfect, followers of Christ are spiritually sojourning their way through this life. The Christ follower is confident they will arrive at that end destination and they know that the path between now and there is no more than being wandering strangers who love…who live life one season, one calling, once location at a time…who make effort to find identity and confidence in their lifestyle yet mold themselves to learn the ways of others in order to reach out to them, hoping they may find the sojourner’s destination a worthwhile road and desire to begin sojourning themselves.
There will be times that the spiritual sojourner comes and goes from a season so quickly because their foreignness is treated with persecution and mockery. There will be times such a season is long drawn out to the point where the sojourner is wondering how much longer until they may pack up and keep moving. Sometimes the winds of heart change blow and sometimes they do not. That’s not up to the sojourner.
There will be times that the sojourner is warmly welcomed, well fed, well received and shown much hospitality. These seasons of rest may also be short or long.
And at all times, the spiritual sojourner seeks to explain their end destination, though their obvious identity as sojourner often provokes this question from others almost right away. They want to know about this foreigner that stands before their eyes…how and why they stand out.
The life of each sojourner is different, but when they cross paths with each other, there is a joy shared because of their mutual destination. Whether they begin traveling together or not, they know they will both see each other again on the other side of the journey.
For many, the life of sojourning is bewildering to them. They ponder why one would stay as less than settled for so long. At the same time, they wonder if they themselves could be striving for this great destination and if they are missing something by not doing so. The sojourner understands their bewilderment and curiosity. They too were once settled. They remember that moment they chose to identify as a sojourner and the first time they saw the light of the end which spurred overflowing gladness in them. And they cannot say that sojourning is considered ideal in the physical world. They either began their own journey with great vigor and excitement and realized later some of its sacrifices or they made commitment to sojourn with a knowledge of the sacrifices, later discovering the worth their commitment carries. Either way, all sojourners, in choosing the unsettled life, know their persistence and strength will not be flowing through themselves, but from that which feeds into them when their eyes are set on the bright, shining light of their final destination.
To keep eyes on the light is not simple, nor easy, nor delicate, but the sojourner knows it is their only hope to sojourn well. And in that hope, they kind joy in the unsettled life. The hope that has already arrived and the final destination that is to come.