In Exile


All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
(Hebrews 11:13 NASB)
For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.
(Hebrews 11:14 NASB)
And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return.
(Hebrews 11:15 NASB)
But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
(Hebrews 11:16 NASB)


The great Faith Chapter tells us the stories of those who have gone before us and have lived in faithful obedience to God. Interestingly one of the characteristics of those who went ahead was a sense of restlessness. The more they followed God, the more they realized they weren't at home here on this earth. Rather, they desired a new and different land. The earth was simply a place of exile for they desired to be with their heavenly Father in the place He was preparing for them. The more they focused on their Father the more they realized that they were simply strangers or aliens here in this land. They would remain here in exile until they could truly go home.


I am of that rather strange breed of people known as an MK, or a Missionary Kid. Not only am I an MK, I grew up to become the parent of MKs. There is a joke shared among m's or mks who meet each other back in their "home" country (generally the country for which you hold a passport), where we ask one another how we are handling our time in exile. The truth is that once you have been a child of the world you no longer feel at 'home' in one particular place. The most difficult question anyone can ask me is "where are you from?" I have to ask them, "what do you mean by that?" In other words -- do you mean where do I currently reside, where was I born, or what do I consider home? All of those have different answers and it also depends on what country I'm currently in.

The upside of all of this is that I get what they're talking about here in Hebrews. I am an alien everywhere I go here on this earth. I will always have a sense that I am an exile. I am not home because I truly don't have a home anywhere on this planet. Therefore I look forward to a better country, a heavenly city where I WILL be at home, for I will be with my Father.

That is truly what God desires for all of us. We all need to recognize that we are simply here on this earth as His children -- His ambassadors, but citizens of His kingdom. If we stop and think about life in this way, how would we act from day to day? Maybe we're not supposed to put the roots down too deep here on this earth as we think about what lies ahead. Heaven is our home and our citizenship.


Lord, thank You for preparing a home for us where we truly will be "home." Amen.


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