Read Hebrews 11:13-16.
As a child our daughter, Sissi came home from school one day incensed at a discussion that had taken place at school. Illegal immigrants had been discussed in an unkind way. Her remark was “If they could just go and take one look at where most of these people come from they would gladly share all they have with them.” Well, I don’t know if that alone would change hearts, but I have been amazed at the testimony of many immigrants and refugees. These testimonies have certainly changed my heart.
N., a young woman from Iraq, was the last of her family to leave her home country when she fled with her younger sister to Europe. Members of her family had been a part of Saddam Hussein’s government, but had then been targeted for persecution due to anti-government activities. At one time independently wealthy, with a beautiful home, surrounded by family this attractive Iraqi woman now finds herself impoverished, struggling, and alone except for her sister and her new brother-in-law. In sharing her story with me, N. said, “But I wouldn’t change any of it because without these events in my life I wouldn’t have come to know my Savior the way I do.”
No matter where God places us, we have a tendency to look back. I confess I desire to return to my home country and the comfort zone I find there. Living in a host country can be difficult. You have to learn to speak differently, eat differently, interact differently, worship differently. Very little feels ‘right’ or ‘normal’.
There is no looking back for N., only forward. There are pictures that tell the story of her comfortable life before. There are reminisces of moments together as a family. But there is certainty that God will one day fulfill all of his promises. Meanwhile, N. and others like her are content to live by faith as aliens and strangers in their host country.
If we are living this life of faith as those described in this chapter then we should have an uncomfortable sense of being aliens, strangers – immigrants – placed in our host country for a purpose. We are placed here so that in living by faith we will witness to others. We are placed here to live by faith without ever knowing if we will see the results of that faith.
Many of my immigrant friends could return to their home country should they desire to. For that matter, so could I. Yet we are called to look ahead to a heavenly country while living in our host country not looking back to our home country.
Question: Where are you looking to in your walk of faith – home country, host country, or heavenly country?