The Message (MSG)
13-16 Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them.
Last fall we visited our daughter and son-in-law in Berlin, Germany. It was my first experience traveling outside the United States. While I enjoyed the churches, the history, the food and the Christmas Markets, the German language surrounding me was a continual reminder that I was a foreigner.
The writer in Hebrews reminds us that we are pilgrims and strangers-transients- in this world. Sometimes I forget because I haven’t lived there yet. And I’ve been in this land so long that I’ve learned the customs and adapted to the culture of this place. I even dream in the language of this world.
When I landed in my home-state airport, nearly everyone spoke my language. What an unexpected “Welcome home!” It felt good to understand the snipets of casual conversations all around me.
That experience made me reflect about always being slightly out-of-sync here in this world. But I am so quick to ease that discomfort. Call a friend. Go for coffee. Take on another project or writing assignment. Turn on the television or radio for distraction.
Perhaps I need to make a list of other activities when that discomfort sneaks in around my soul. Read a psalm. Write a prayer. Sing a song. Listen for God. Look at nature. Perhaps let the discomfort sink into my being. Things that will help me prepare for my future home.
How does it feel to be in a new place surrounded by a strange language?
How would it change my focus to remember that I am only a transient in this world?
Dear God, Help me to remember that my true home is with You. Teach me to trust You for all that I need here in this foreign land.