That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: Ephesians 2:12
Alien. Stranger. Foreigner.
Those words described the way I felt that crisp fall day in central China some years back, where my family and I were missionaries. We were on a rutted dirt road, muddy from the previous day’s rain. Trash littered the ground and stray dogs ran loose in and out of small shops sniffing at the heaps of garbage. After walking for what felt like hours to my eight year old mind, trying to find the home of an elderly widow who was in need, and not being successful, we were *somewhat* lost and not sure of what to do. As one of us tried to get directions from some of the local people, a crowd quickly gathered around, curiously tugging at our blond hair, wondering over our blue eyes, and asking the usual load of questions.
We were “foreign dolls” to them, and although this was a very commonplace scenario that I was used to, on this day it hit deep – I was a stranger. It didn’t matter that I had grown up there, that I spoke their language, that I knew their culture and ate like they did. I was different.
I eagerly looked forward to our return on furlough to the U.S., but when that happened a few years later, I was disappointed to find that even here, where I didn’t look like a foreigner, I still felt like one with the majority. Not only was I different in that I was multicultural and bilingual, but my beliefs and standards, dress, music, and language were different than most. And it didn’t feel good.
“But now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” (v. 13)
Alien. Stranger. Foreigner.
That’s the place we were in our lives. Dead in trespasses and sins, we were alienated by our own choice from the God who had loved us since before the foundation of the world.
But that’s where the story takes a turn. Jesus, who had unlimited freedom to fellowship and communicate with His Father, chose to be alienated from Him – separated from His Father in the darkest hour, the hour of His deepest agony and pain. Because of us; because of me.
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; (v. 19)
And it doesn’t end there! Through His death and resurrection, Jesus made us to be “nigh by the blood of Christ”. He made us go from beggars to sons and daughters. We went from commoners to royalty; strangers and foreigners to fellowcitizens with the saints, and part of His household. And that is where we find hope.
“But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:16)
So in the last few years, as I realized there is really no place on earth that I can call home, I find that the only true home I have is my heavenly one, and I look with eagerness and excitement for the day when I will arrive there. For the time when all the household of God will have unbroken fellowship with Christ, and there will be no more fears, pain, tears, and suffering. Will you look with me to that day?
~ Charity M.