We just got back from our monthly visit to the Immigration office. Eight months down, an untold number to go. It's a strange feeling to be without a home.
Our home countries are the US and Canada, but we don't live in either. We live here in Belize, but don't have roots here yet. Still no home, no jobs, and just the beginnings of meaningful friendships. The stamps on our passports say "Tourist," at least until we qualify for residency.
The Bible talks about the concept of sojourning. To sojourn is to dwell for a time; to dwell or live in a place as a temporary resident, or as a stranger, not considering the place as his permanent habitation. For generations the Israelites lived as exiles and immigrants, always anticipating the day they would return to their true home in Israel. In the New Testament, Peter says we who are believers are sojourners here on earth, just passing through on our way home.
1 Peter 2:11 says, "Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul."
The tension of being home, and feeling homesick is not entirely new to me. In life, there are times when I look at the surrounding culture and it is bizarre and foreign. Hearing parents deriding their children, seeing kids bully each other, those things don't represent the culture of my home. Sexual abuse and violence, manipulation, boasting, bribery are foreign, yet sadly familiar.
The house we rent here is not our own. It was planned and built for someone else's purposes, decorated and painted for someone else's taste. Some day soon we will have a house that has been prepared for us, that will reflect our tastes; look and feel like "us." In the meantime, we can resent the home we're in, or work to create an atmosphere we can enjoy.
In the same way, our job here on Earth, is to recreate the culture and atmosphere of heaven, despite sojourning in a place of darkness. We can resent being here, or we can get to work bringing the Kingdom to earth during our stay.