What Happens in a Distant Country?

After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any. (Luke 15:13-16, The Message)

Have you ever been around a pig farm?

It stinks.


The aw-didja-havta-do-that kind of bad.

Several friends and I traveled to a retreat about an hour from my hometown. During the trip, my best friend from high school (and this goes back a whole bunch of years) removed his shoes just as our car passed a pig farm.

To this day, I can’t help but think Wayne’s feet smell like a badly managed pig farm. I know better but knowing doesn’t stop me thinking the way I do.

So what happens when we escape to a distant country?

As noted in the previous post, we wander.

We squander.

We end up with the pigs.

And it’s the pits.

Life stinks!

Not all at once.

Just a little at a time.

The cycle goes something like this.

We dream of the distant country. We pack our bags thinking, “Hey, this little adventure’s going to be great.” We travel. We arrive. We let the good times roll.

And at first, those times are good.

Wild, man.

Really, really wild. Let’s do that again.

(Sounds like a great roller coaster ride doesn’t it? Oh, you don’t do roller coasters. I don’t know what to tell you then. Just believe me. It’s scary fun like a Stephen King novel. Oh, not an SK fan either?)

The distant country passes from wild to weird to “let me off this ride.” Then life takes a turn toward the sinister. Dark, destructive thoughts bounce around in your head (at least, they’ve ricocheted around in my dome and, in those moments, the distant country zips out far past being a fun place anymore).

This whole trip started because we feared facing the ONE. We ran from Him. But our sick little souls tagged along for the ride. And, as much as we’d like to, we can’t run from ourselves.

We’re stuck.

Life stinks.

So what happens next in a distant country?

We start entertaining those dark thoughts. Entertain? Shoot… We feed them. We wrap them up in soft blankets, make sure they’re toasty warm and comfortable.

Those thoughts like…

“You just need to go a little further, get in a little deeper.”

“You’re missing out.”

“Everyone else knows how good it really is.”

“Maybe you’re just not that smart…”

“Or strong…”

“Or good…”

Then those thoughts get bolder.

And darker.

“You’ll never amount to anything.”

“You’ve wasted your life.”

“He doesn’t love you.”

“He never has.”

“And He never will.”

“You’ve disappointed Him.”

“You can never go back home.”

“Maybe you should just take the ultimate trip.”

“Maybe you should just die!”

So what would happen if you turned around?

Instead of running from Him, you ran to Him? What would happen then?

Stay with me and let’s see in the next post.

Question: So do you agree or disagree with what I’ve said about what happens in a distant country?

Related articles:

Where Can We Run and Be Safe?

Can We Go Back Home Again or Not?

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About tnealtarver

I've traveled and spoken around the world but always love to come home. There I eat exceptional meals, drink coffee to my heart's content, and get loved like nowhere else on earth. I believe a community centered in Christ should be all that and so much more.
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3 Responses to What Happens in a Distant Country?

  1. MARY Jeffries says:

    OH ya, that far country…..dangerous territory! Like a sneaky snake, or a trap play, it gets you and eats you up and spits you out….but thankfully even there..in the pig pen….our ABBA finds us, woes us, and draws our hearts toward HOME…. NOTHING separates us from the love of the ONE….Praise God for that!

  2. tnealtarver says:

    Yes, praise God. I needed Him to pursue me then and need Him to pursue me now.

  3. Pingback: 3 Observations About an Encounter With the Living God | A Curious Band of Others

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