Born to Wander Review

Book Review: 

Gentle Reader,

The Hebrew words lech lecha used here for the command “go” emphasize this wasn’t a casual suggestion. … Lech lecha also carries the answer to the “how?” and “where?” questions that arise in the immediate wake of “go.”

How? By walking?

Where? Toward the One who bids you to come.

Lech lecha tells us the Lord is our launchpad. He is our companion on the way. And He is our destination. Lech lecha is the roadmap for the pilgrim’s journey.

– p. 36

Michelle Van Loon’s Born to Wander: Recovering the Value of our Pilgrim Identity should be required reading for Christians living in the United States of America in 2018. We are so wrapped up in the temporal, scrabbling for power and influence by man-made means that we completely ignore the fact that we do not belong to this world. Oh, we give lip service to the idea. We quote the verses. But the way we live proves that the words are meaningless to us.

Van Loon uses the story of the Hebrews in the Old Testament – from God’s first command to Abram to “go” through the return of the exiles from Babylon – to highlight that truth. People are people wherever and whenever one goes, so we are not, in any way, different from this ancient nation. They had the presence of God with them, first in the smoke and the fire, then in the Holy of Holies, yet they did their own thing. Walked their own way. Forgot who they truly were.

So it is with us.

We moderns tend to be proud of the fact that we’ve “evolved” past pagan forms of worship, but our lives are packed to the rafters with things competing for the place that belongs to God alone. Idolatry took root in our DNA from the very beginning, at the fall. In the garden of Eden, when the serpent hissed, “Did God really say…?”, the first humans used God’s gift of choice to entertain their own answers to the question rather than remaining in unbroken relationship with their Creatot (Gen. 3:1). That decision positioned all of humanity to gravitate toward worshiping gods of our own making.

– p. 97

None of us have to look far to find the little idols, the cherished sins, that keep us distracted. I won’t bother crafting a list, because the things upon which we focus our affection and attention are varied and far too numerous. You know what it is that pulls your heart. I know what it is that pulls mine.

Born to Wander is a convicting book. Read it. Especially if you’re sensitive or in possession of thin skin. It’s time for us to embrace our true identity, that of the stranger, the wanderer, the exile. We don’t belong to this place. This world is not our home.