Have you ever imagined living abroad? Are you a foreigner living in a faraway country right now? I, writing to you today, am.
I have been a foreigner for over 16 years. God’s map for life can overwhelm us with new possibilities and roads we have never once considered to trail.
I know it because I am still there!
At the beginning, it all looks amazing; a dreamed adventure that becomes a reality. People look different from the ones you are used to seeing every day. They dress in those “gringo” outfits and you think, “There goes a gringo!” …Uh, excuse me! Who is the foreigner here? Oh, yeah.
Their cars are different too. You might feel like you are inside a Hollywood movie playing in bright colors on the screen as you explore the new world around you!
Their houses and streets have such unique features and you say, “This is so crazy!”
Then comes the food. If you are like me, and enjoy the diversity of international food, pull up a chair, and join me at this exploring affair. Don’t ask too many questions if you don’t want to discover that it might have a pretty significant amount of unknown animal and vegetable species floating in some kind of broth. Just enjoy the moment and bring the questions later.
Time goes by in high speed. The thrill starts to settle down and all the frenzy of a new cultural experience slowly fades away as routine takes place. You realize that you have been commissioned to adjust yourself to a new life, new people, new culture and your life’s dictionary still says, “You are a foreigner.”
That might not be a daily revelation. Actually, it might show up exactly on those days when you miss home, family, friends, …, and a sudden attack of thought interrupts your good mood and starts a turmoil inside your frail structure, “You don’t fit!” “You are not part of this.” “You are not accepted.”
From an outsider’s perspective, you know that something is different about you. You may color your hair to look like them. You may be able to speak their language fluently, and if you are lucky enough, may even disguise your country’s trademark stamped on your accent. Inside, though, you know it’s a different story. Your memories connect you to home. You know where you belong.
As comfortable you may find yourself in the new life, in the new country, you still carry those sweet memories of home. “Home is where your heart lives,” right?
I understand that some people may not have such sweet memories stored in their life’s memory stick. Actually, many would enumerate catastrophic happenings that caused them to become a foreigner, and we may not be emotionally ready to hear about all the pain and distress those individuals had to undertake.
“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.” Philippians 3:20
In the same way, we are foreigners in this world, if we are part of God’s family. That means that no matter where we live, we should never feel completely comfortable as we understand that
“We are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.” 1John 5:19
This world is not our home. The things that are the subject of jokes in the mouths of many may be the very things we should never say. The lifestyles that some people adopt and are inappropriate to a child of God according to His word, the Bible, should never be part of our lives. We are not living here to please anyone but God, our creator.
In other words, as a child of God, you will have an “accent”; you will sound different, you will look different, you will do things in a different way because you belong to a different culture and people, and you do things following heaven’s perspective.
You belong to a land that you will possess when you are reunited with your Heavenly Father. That land will never decay or be destroyed. It will never accept corruption or deeds of evil. Its King will never oppress you; instead, He will invite you to sit at His table and eat with Him, in the company of many others who have accepted His invitation to be part of His kingdom.
There will be no pain or regrets. Sin will have been forever defeated, and there all will live under grace and true freedom.
So don’t feel bad if others are bothered because you don’t fit in their group. Let God live in you and through you so others will come to know Him and His amazing grace. Be what God wants you to be. Live like God wants you to live.
After all, it’s pretty cool to live in such a unique way. It’s very cool to be a foreigner!