ell friends, we made it back to america. india is once again nine and a half hours ahead and seven thousand miles away. i’ve enjoyed having a glass of sweet tea in my hand and knowing that people will understand me when i say “y’all.” i’ve lavished in the comforts of air conditioning and real showers. and i’ve appreciated being able to read street signs and understand things that people are saying because they aren’t speaking in hindi.
that being said, i already miss it. i miss india. sometime during the short eight weeks that we spent there, it ceased to be a foreign country. it became familiar. maybe it was when i realized that i can eat more indian food than should be physically possible. maybe it was when our indian friends welcomed us in like family. maybe it was when i became fully aware of and saw first hand the lostness of the people. for two months india was home.
and so i feel stuck in no-man’s land. america contains my family, native language, and birthplace. but the call i feel to do god’s work in other countries and my love for immersing myself in other cultures tells me that i’m not supposed to stay here for the rest of my life. in a way, it feels like i am a foreigner wherever i go. it’s like i don’t belong here or there.
a few days ago, while still in india, i read chapter fifty-six of isaiah. and it says:
“let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say, ‘the LORD will surely separate me from his people’ … and the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants … these i will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer … for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples”
i wondered who the foreigner is. and i realized, it is me.
why? surely we do not deserve to call heaven our home. nothing we have done has given us that right. if anything, we were cast off into the wilderness because of our sin, made to live in a foreign land because of our disobedience. because of sin, humanity was subjected to living on earth, no longer fit to live in the land we were created for. so then, that makes us foreigners to the house of the LORD.
and then god led me to read philippians 3:20-21. it says:
“but our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a savior, the lord jesus christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself”
god has compassion on his children, his creation. he wants us to be a part of his kingdom. that’s why he made us. but with our brokenness, our sin still on our shoulders, it is impossible to enter the house of the LORD, much less call it home… but jesus came. the king of the universe humbled himself, came down to earth, lived in the wilderness, worked with his hands to make ends-meet. he lived in this broken world. and when he was killed, he took on our sin. he took on our foreignness. and he overcame the grave. he overcame this world. and he clothed us with his righteousness. he has freely given us his place in heaven. he has made us new, transforming us to be like him. and as a result, we have a place at the table in the house of the LORD. we are made heirs of the kingdom. because we have gained the identity of jesus christ, we are no longer foreigners. our home is forever in heaven. because of jesus, we are given citizenship in the kingdom of the LORD.
and so what does that mean for us while we are still living on earth? i think it means that america is not our home. south carolina is not our home. the house that shelters you is not your home. heaven is your home. your life here on earth is only for a moment. and for all eternity after, you belong in heaven. and so what then? do we just twiddle our thumbs, waiting for eternity to arrive so that we can go home? no! if you have joined yourself to the LORD you are called to minister to him, love his name, and serve him. i urge you, brothers and sisters, do not waste your time here on earth. every single one of us is called to go and make disciples (matthew 28:18-20). to the ends of the earth. so forget about your delusions that you aren’t cut out to leave america. america isn’t even the place where you belong. and jesus promises us that he is with us always. so GO! the need is great. nations like india are so lost that the government doesn’t even let people choose their own beliefs. so many people have never even heard the name of jesus. they don’t know where their home is. we need to tell them, to share with them the hope that we have in jesus christ.
our time on earth is short. don’t waste it. god has given you a voice. to shout his name to the nations. to call his children home… if you truly know the way to your heavenly home (jesus is the way!), how can you sit back and not have an overwhelming desire to share this beautiful truth with everyone you meet?!
god does not need us to do his work. but he wants us to. and he gives us the ability to. and serving the LORD is a joyful thing! in india, i enjoyed delicious food and learned how to make it, reveled in the beauty of the himalayan mountains, and sung and danced in the presence of the LORD and of indians. our team has countless stories of things we saw and experienced in india. of how god is working in glorious ways. and of reasons why he is not done working there.
so please, ask us. let us tell you a story. take a moment and listen.
you might just hear god telling you to stop calling america your home.
much love to you, dear friends.