By Nancy Unks

Trying times. Challenging circumstances. The new normal. These are common descriptors we hear for the Covid-19 pandemic. Common effects range from torturous togetherness to lock-down loneliness and isolation insanity. Who would have thought that the middle of a pandemic would be a good time to sell a house and move more than 850 miles?

There are lots of similarities between southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Alabama—social distancing, mask wearing, select shortages of items like paper towels. On the way to a supermarket, I still encounter four traffic lights. But instead of one mile past small suburban yards, I go ten miles past expansive cotton and soybean fields.

Pros include no traffic noise, and family is only 27 steps away. The neighbors are friendly, especially the barn manager next door. He looks mean, but he’s really a pussycat. Literally. On the con side, grasshoppers, crickets, and whirring, dog-fighting hummingbirds are surprisingly loud. And friends at New Life are both far away and as close as the internet.

Moving has been convicting. I thought I had done a good job of downsizing, but there’s still TOO MUCH STUFF. As I’ve spent weeks unpacking, I’ve had to examine my heart. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34).

As the stuff gets organized, this place feels more like home. But I’m also acutely aware that it is not. Someday I will move again. I have an eternal house in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:1), and Jesus has already gone there to prepare a place for me (John 14:2-3).

Shortly before I left Pennsylvania, a homegroup friend reminded me of verses from Psalm 16. As I meditate on that psalm in a new place, I can’t help but praise the Lord who counsels me (Psalm 16:7). Because the Lord is at my right hand, I will not be shaken (verse 8). Therefore my heart is glad (verse 9). The Lord has made known to me the path of life (verse 11), which, of course, is Jesus. He fills me with joy in his presence, with eternal pleasures at his right hand.  Moving convicts. Moving acquits; it frees me to look forward. Moving separates. The gospel connects us. Forever.