If I Settle On The Far Side Of The Sea

if I settle on the far side of the sea … Psalm 139:9b

Psalm 139 resonates with migrants and in particular verse 9b: ” if I settle on the far side of the sea.” Leaving home and leaving everything that is familiar, family connections, friends, church, traditions and landmarks, is an amazingly brave move. I was only three and half years old when my parents upped anchor and moved to Australia.

The mental and emotional processes required to come to that decision were huge. Yes, I know that Holland was recovering from WW2 and work was difficult to find but travelling to a new unfamiliar land must have also been a daunting process. As I was growing up I remember a number of families returning to Europe and the UK. The wrench was too much. Some even came and returned a number of times.

In our first 15 years, before my parents had accumulated enough to purchase a house, let alone find money to visit the family, all my grandparents passed away. My parents had an opportunity later in life to return a few times but by that time parents and some family members had already passed on.

Now we live in a different world. One of my daughters travels to Australia every Christmas to visit us. That wasn’t an option 45 years ago.

Psalm 139 reminds us of a God who has a keen and intimate knowledge of, and love for, His children, even if they “settle on the far side of the sea.” As we approach Easter we are reminded that this same God loved us that much that he sent us His son to deal with our sinful condition and our separation from God.

From that perspective, the “far side of the sea” is not such a big deal. Our sinfulness was a far bigger gulf.

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