Photo by Slava Bowman on Unsplash
Maybe the title caught your attention because you are a fellow expat. Or maybe you, like me, are on a quest to know the Risen Jesus more and more. Either way, I am so glad you are here.
I have had at least 10 different addresses in the last 15 years. 3 of those moves have been cross-cultural. God has taught me to love the places I have lived in. I enjoy new places, meeting new people, discovering new cultures. I have tasted the faithfulness of our homemaking God who has made a home for me and for my family everywhere we have lived. He really does prepare places for His people.
At the same time, God has used every move to peel away the dragon-like clothes I have been wearing without knowing. Even though I have known God as mine for a long time, and even while being very acquainted with Romans 3, I lived for a long time with the delusion that I wasn’t as bad as other people. I rested on what I thought was the strength of my faith. I grounded much of my confidence in who I was.
But God in His mercy has orchestrated the places of my story to slowly remove the scales off my eyes. In her book Keeping Place Jen P. Michel says:
“No place is insignificant in our stories. In fact, in paying them attention, we pay attention to the salvific movement of God. Wherever we move, we may be sure of this: God always moves toward himself.”
Well, God has definitely been doing just that. This is my 3rd year living in a country in the Middle East. Moving over here was like being a in a pressure cooker. I can’t tell you how intense God’s dealings with me were the first year and a half or two. Initially I was crushed under the realization of how dark was my heart. But when I was drowning in the sea of self-contemplation, Christ rescued me.
He did it by telling me to do the same He told the Israelites long ago when they were bitten by fiery snakes and were dying in the desert. He had Moses set up a fiery snake on a pole. The Israelites were to look on the serpent and live (Numbers 21: 9).
Jesus told Nicodemus that serpent in the desert had pointed to Him: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life (John 3: 14).” Christ was willing to become sin to save us, to save me. Bearing all my sins and transgressions, Christ took them all to the grave and buried them. He crushed the serpent and its power over me. He rose up in new life by the glory of the Father (Rom. 6: 4) and the life Jesus lives He lives to God.
Christ raised me up to new life many years ago but He keeps sustaining me in the same way He saved me then: giving me faith eyes so I can look at Him and continue to live.
Over these next few weeks I am excited to share some of the glorious sights of Christ that have been sustaining and reorienting my expat heart. There has been nothing more life-giving over these past years than to search the word and discover the riches of His strength. There is none like Him.
You may be an expat living in a country other than your own. But even if you belong in an earthly sense to the place you live, I hope these posts encourage you. If you live by faith in Christ Jesus, you are also in exile. I pray that these posts stir your affections for the One who keeps you until you make it home.
I am far from Home and I am not what I will one day be. But instead of looking at my brokenness and despairing, as long as I am homeward bound, I will look to Jesus and live.
I joined the write31 challenge this year. I am writing every day but due to the season of life am in, can only actually post 1-2 times a week.
These are all the posts related to this writing challenge:
Who Said We Have To Grow Up?