Not of This World August, 2017
You’ve probably seen the decals in the back windows of some cars with this symbol.
The letters spell out N0TW. It stands for Not of This World. It is the title of an album released by the band Petra in 1983. That idea of being a stranger in this land is one that made a connection with me.
I don’t know why but when I was very young my family moved to Houston from Dallas and then back again. Then when I was 3 1/2 a big change happened for our family. My dad, who was 30 at the time, was trying to run Bekins Van and Storage in Dallas with his mom Muriel. They were having union troubles and this caused him to get into fights with union organizers, once being thrown out a second story window by them.
He decided that it was safer to go back into the Marine Corps and he did. We were transferred to Memphis, Tennessee and the US Naval Supply Depot there. I am now in my 63rd legal residence. Beyond being a Marine Corps brat I joined the Navy and later became a hotel troubleshooter.
That constant migration gave me incredible adaptability but of course never that sense of roots. Roots are a very earthly thing that most people own. It is what they identify with – their town, their family, their lifestyle and in these days to some degree what they believe in. I had to look beyond that. There are also roots to be owned in the world to which I DO belong.
A fellow told me one time that the only constant in all this travel was me. Wherever I went, there I was. God must be getting a chuckle about this article, because wherever I went there He was, too. Having that attitude of an immigrant here in this world is a very healthy way to identify with our roots in the spiritual world. It does not oppose or confirm the lack of earthly roots which in the long run are transient. For me, the stuff that mattered most were things that did not change no matter where in my eleven states or four countries I was living.
This sense of spiritual roots becomes a priority setting aspect for who we are and what we do. If there is conflict between the two worlds, to which will our loyalty be pledged? In this world filled with constant change, isn’t it nice to have unchanging roots? You find prejudice as a tall girl in an average girl school. When you are the only American in a back street in Hong Kong you feel the pressure. It is hard to be a Texan in New Jersey. However, it is easy to be a Christian anywhere. Oh, you may be persecuted but that anger is coming from the earth not from Heaven. You will still be a stranger in a Strange land but you will have the ultimate traveling companions – an itinerant preacher with no home, no family, and no earthly roots. He too was in this world but Not of This World.