How far is the east from the west? In my experience, twenty-four hours of travel to be exact. Or is it?
I recently traveled east to Singapore. An island known to westerners as being in the east.
Yet to some, I also live in the east—that is on the eastern seaboard of the United States.
My husband and I accompanied our twin boys taking part in the World Finals of a competition called F1 in Schools. If you’d like to share in our excitement, their team claimed the title of World Champions. This mamma bear is so proud.
Singapore is a long way east of Massachusetts in the north-east of America.
I’d never been to Asia. I was excited. Yet, twenty-four hours of travel is far from glamorous. We left Boston for a six-hour flight to London Heathrow. After a two hours layover, we began the next leg of our journey—a fourteen-hour flight to Singapore.
I slept as we flew thousands of miles across Europe, the Black Sea, Iran and India. I watched the interactive map as our plane crossed high above the Indian Ocean. Our flight took us south of the island Phuket, known for being devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami. Then we followed the western coastline of Malaysia to the southern tip, and Singapore.
Twelve time zones and 9,400 miles in twenty-four hours means numerous days of adjustment are inevitable.
Crossing the globe is nothing new. Even biblical history is full of people leaving their homes for faraway places. Jetlag, however, is a modern phenomenon. Traveling by boat or camel may have been slow, but it had it’s advantages. At least it didn’t cause you to be wide-awake at night and falling asleep during the day.
The East brought new experiences. Unusual foods. Unfamiliar people.
It also gave me a new perspective on scripture:
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12 (NIV)
These words should fill our souls with reassurance. They should overwhelm our hearts with God’s compassionate love. They should astonish our minds with God’s overflowing grace towards us.
Yet, our modern thinking and experiences bring a different point of view. We measure the distance of the east from the west and we consider it to be, well, not very far. We assess our wrongdoing and it is also close at hand.
We assess the east from our place in the west. We don’t even have to travel there. We watch television, movies and videos and we learn about the culture of the east. We are familiar with what goes on there. In the same way, we see the areas of our lives in which we struggle to be good. We know well what goes on in our deceitful hearts and so, we don’t leave behind the things we’ve done wrong.
When we are told God no longer remembers our faults, we find it hard to comprehend. When we are told he forgives and forgets, we find it difficult to believe.
Yet, we should not confuse our understanding with the beauty of God’s truth. The east can never be reached. The unlimited mercy of God towards us can never be restricted. Measure his forgiveness, not your failures.
Just keep traveling east, you’ll never find the west.
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Join me at these linkups for more encouraging words. Susannah Kellogg’s #FaithandFellowship, Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday, Holly Barrett’s #TestimonyTuesday, Kelly Balarie’s #RaRaLinkup, Natalie Venegas at Salt & Light, Arabah Joy at Grace & Truth, Susan B. Mead at #DanceWithJesus, Kelly Balarie at #RaRaLinkup, Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart