By Chris Mizrany
I was singing my daughter to sleep, and “Wayfaring Stranger”1 was the song of the night. All was quiet and suddenly I was greatly moved—line by line—with the deep meanings implied in the lyrics.
I am a poor wayfaring stranger
Just traveling through this world of woe.
This world is full of woe, there’s no denying that. And yes, often we feel either materially “poor” or emotionally poor—“poor me,” etc. Furthermore, for many of us, serving Jesus has meant giving up our home countries, or if we live in them, feeling like misfits or out of place due to our unique callings.
There is no sickness, no toil nor danger
In that bright land to which I go.
Well, hallelujah! In heaven all those things that trouble us will be forever banished.2 But not yet. Although sometimes Jesus delivers us from danger, toil, or afflictions, there are times when they are simply par for the course of life, and we must work through them with Him as our strong companion. In this world we shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer! Why? Our Lord has overcome the world.3
But I’m going there to see my Savior,
I’m going there no more to roam;
I’m just a going over Jordan,
I’m just a going over home.
The Bible is packed full of promises for our eternity! There we will see all the loved ones we’ve had to part from here. We’ll be there with them forever and ever, never needing to roam away. Heaven is a home bought, paid for, and with a non-expiring lease. Best of all, we will be in the presence of Jesus, and His love will be our constant refreshing.4
I know dark clouds will gather ’round me,
I know my way is rough and steep,
Golden fields lie on before me
Where God’s redeemed no more shall weep.
There will be hard times, and there are usually seasons of them. We don’t get through our trials once and for all; we face different ones over the years. But here’s the thing—the end goal is always the same, and we must fix our eyes on that! There in that golden land no tears shall dim our eyes, and there shall be neither sorrow nor crying.5
Lord, I want to see salvation’s story,
I’m going with the people of love.
I’m going to wear that crown of glory
When I get home to that bright land.
What the song speaks of here is the story of salvation, the walk of faith that we daily strive for. This is the “working out our salvation with fear and trembling” that the apostle Paul speaks of.6 And for every bit of effort put in to following God, there is a blessing. Sometimes we see those blessings right here and now, but even if we don’t, we know our crown of glorious beauty waits for us there.
So let’s not feel bad about being wayfaring strangers. We are not of this world, but are chosen out of the world.7 We may face opposition and hardship at times. We may struggle financially, emotionally, and physically. But let’s not forget those golden fields, that crown of glory, and the unshakable promise of eternal happiness with our loved ones and Jesus!
1 “The Wayfaring Stranger” is a well-known American folk and gospel song likely originating in the early 19th century about a plaintive soul on the journey through life. As with most folk songs, many variations of the lyrics exist. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wayfaring_Stranger_(song).
2 See Revelation 22:3.
3 See John 16:33.
4 See Revelation 21:23.
5 See Revelation 21:4
6 See Philippians 2:12.
7 See John 15:19.