Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘alien’

A Settler or a Sojourner?

If you would ask me where my home is, I would have to scratch my head. When we were in the US for eight months last year, we joked that we were living out of our car and suitcases.  But here on the other side of the world, we don’t really feel at home either.  We look different, sound different, eat differently and think differently than the people of this country.

A more important question is whether we who have transferred our citizenship to heaven look, sound, and think the same as the people around us whose only home is this world.  If I am a settler, I will try to assimilate.  I will spend my time, energy and resources acquiring things that I think I will enhance my happiness here.  And some of those “things” may include intangibles like acceptance, pleasure, and power. 

On the other hand, if I am a sojourner, I won’t set my heart on those things but on preparing for my Real Home.  I will be patient in trials, content with less-than-ideal situations, and hopeful for the future even when the headlines spell doom.  If this is my mentality, I will be in good company:

Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land …. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. …confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.  (Hebrews 11:8-10 NLT)

Moses chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin and …to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward,…. not fearing the king’s anger…because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible. (Hebrews 11.25-27)

Paul: Our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.  (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)  Read also Romans 8:18-25.

Here’s the link to a beautiful “Sojourner’s Song” by Buddy Greene:

The Ideal Place to Live

Occasionally my husband and I walk in a gated community where we gawk at incredible mansions.  While I’m glad I don’t have to pay the taxes and upkeep on such things, there’s no denying that it would be fun to see inside and to stay for a few nights. 

Then I muse on what kind of a “mansion” my Father is preparing for me in heaven.  Abraham shares my thoughts. He lived in tents like a stranger in a foreign country because “he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10).  And now I follow suit.  “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come” (13:14).

When I feel out of place here on earth, it’s because I’m a foreigner whose real address is in heaven.  I am here on business for my King, and when that is finished, I’ll be welcomed home to the incredible place He is preparing for me.

I’m satisfied with just a cottage below,
A little silver and a little gold;
But in that city where the ransomed will shine,
I want a gold one that’s silver-lined.

I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop,
In that bright land where we’ll never grow old;
And someday yonder we will never more wander,
But walk the streets that are purest gold.

Tho’ often tempted, tormented and tested
And, like the prophet, my pillow a stone,
And tho’ I find here no permanent dwelling,
I know He’ll give me a mansion my own.

Don’t think me poor or deserted or lonely,
I’m not discouraged, I’m heaven bound;
I’m just a pilgrim in search of a city,
I want a mansion, a harp and a crown.

Lyrics and Composer: Ira F. Stanphill, 1914.

On Being an Alien

For most Americans, an “alien” is a character with malformed facial features and strange-looking appendages.  I hope that doesn’t describe me, even though the government of the country where I happily reside classifies me as an “alien.” I don’t look like the citizens of this country.  I don’t sound like them.  I don’t think like them. 

In a few days, I will present my passport to an immigration official in my home country.  If I’m lucky, he/she will say “Welcome home!”  (That actually happened once. Smile)  I will no longer look or sound different from all the other people in the airport or on the street—or will I?  Actually, I will probably not feel like I belong there either.  Peter says that I am an “alien and stranger in the world” (1 Peter 2:11 NIV) no matter what country I happen to be in.

So where do I belong?  My real citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).  And I am one of those described as “… chosen people… royal priests…a holy nation, God’s very own possession. (1 Peter 2:9-10 NLT). 

Yes, I’m an alien here.  But more accurately, I’m an ambassador on business for my King!  It shouldn’t worry me if I don’t fit in.

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