Friday, March 16, 2018

Always a stranger

I moved with my family to a new country, and did everything I could to settle there.  I learned to live, shop, get around the city, make new foods, and eat new foods. I learned to get along with the neighbors and even began learning the language.  So I didn't understand why, even years later, sometimes I still felt strange, I still felt uncomfortable, I still felt out of place, I still felt insecure.
Then I came across a verse that changed everything for me. 
Exodus 23:9  Also, thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
The Israelites had been in Egypt for over 400 years. The people that Moses was talking to at this time were not the first ones to enter Egypt as strangers. They had been born in Egypt, and lived there their whole lives. Yet still, they were considered strangers.  They had the heart of a stranger, even when the land was no longer as strange, even when it was comfortable, they were still strangers. Their background, their lifestyle, their religious practices, their family structure was fundamentally different from the people of the land they were living in. They were living in a place where they would always be seen as strangers.

And as I sat there thinking about this verse and thinking about the children of Israel who were still considered strangers after 400 years, I had a breakthrough that changed me.  I was that stranger. I had that heart.  It was ok to be me. It was ok to be ME. See, I had always had a feeling deep inside that there was something wrong with me, because I always felt a little out of place, always felt a little lonely, always felt a little uncomfortable and insecure. I wondered if I really could ever belong here.  I wondered if I was doing it wrong and should just give up.  It was my heart. The heart of a stranger, and it is just as it should be. It was ok to feel uncomfortable and strange in a place that's so different from my own. It didn't mean that I wasn't doing well, wasn't doing enough, wasn't adjusting, or wasn't where I should be.  I have the heart of a stranger. The heart given to me by the One who took me from the place that was familiar, to this strange land, because there was something He wanted me to do, and ways He wanted me to change.  It's not about being comfortable and secure in the place, but I can be secure in the One who called me, because He called me here, knowing I'd always have within me, the heart of a stranger.
And I know that there are many who feel like giving up their strange land, many who feel they are ineffective or unnecessary.  There are many who have given up, because it it uncomfortable and insecure, but it's supposed to be!  God knows exactly where you've come from and how different it is from where you are.  The backwoods of Maine is nothing even remotely like the fields of Punjab, but here I am, and there you are, and if we can just embrace the heart He has given us, the heart of a stranger, we can endure, we can survive, we can thrive, right here in our strange land, and maybe, just maybe, if we endure, it can somehow become home too.

1 comment:

  1. We Love your sweet family's been always delightful to be with this Godly family.we are always with you mam. God keeps your family Blessed as always.Amen.