Strangers and foreigners
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country… (Hebrews 11:8–12)
One US Independence Day, I was ending a silent retreat at an Anglican convent before traveling back to Washington, DC to watch the fireworks by the Lincoln Memorial. While on retreat God had impressed on my heart the story of Abraham, especially from these verses in the book of Hebrews. Here was one who left his home and became a stranger living in a foreign land.
I felt like the Lord was speaking to me through Abraham’s story. For I had been asking God to confirm whether it was right to marry the Englishman I had been dating. I sensed that the marriage was right, but I was starting to see that it would not be without cost. I also caught the irony – as I was celebrating our nation’s independence from the British, I was also affirming that eventually I would become a subject of the Queen.
Abraham obeyed and went, not knowing where he was going. For me, in my excitement to marry my beau, I hadn’t considered that I might have to obey God in this union. For although I had visited the UK, I didn’t know where we would be living. I would not have guessed that we would move three times in our first five years. Or of the crushing homesickness that I would feel for my family. I didn’t know it then, but by faith I too would need to make my home in this promised land.
And though the UK is now home, I often with Abraham long for the heavenly city. When I’m missing my American people or links, I try to cast my mind on the city where there will be no more mourning or crying or pain, where we will live in amazing unity and joy. Come, Lord Jesus.
Father God, we often feel like strangers here on earth, whether in the country of our birth or another. Take this dissonance and use it for your glory.