Visitors & Strangers

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I was reading in Hebrews this morning chapter 11, the great ‘hall of faith’. Love reading about how people in the bible believed God and He counted it, keeping track of those who had faith in Him. Amazing. So, as I’m reading (and I love it when the Lord does this), I ran across these verses that gave me pause. Perhaps it’s the translation, I don’t know, because I’ve read this many times, but this morning, it was different.

Verses 13-16 ERV; All these great people continued living with faith until they died. They did not get the things God promised his people. But they were happy just to see those promises coming far in the future. They accepted the fact that they were like visitors and strangers here on earth. When people accept something like that, they show they are waiting for a country that will be their own.  If they were thinking about the country they had left, they could have gone back.  But they were waiting for a better country—a heavenly country. So God is not ashamed to be called their God. And he has prepared a city for them.

“They did not get the things God promised his people. But they were happy just to see those promises coming far in the future.” I was thinking of all the things my grandmother used to talk about in the Word, the many promises that her children would serve the Lord. She didn’t get to see her great-grandchildren, my children serving the Lord, yet she believed God and is now enjoying the city that was prepared for her.

I’ve shared this before but I’ll share it again; You can’t go anywhere looking in the rearview mirror. You must look ahead, not behind. God has made it clear to us that this world is not our home, we don’t belong here. This is merely a place where we make disciples for Christ and leave a mark on the earth that can’t be erased. His intentions have always been clear, we are His servants, sent to do His bidding, not our own. When we become confused about our assignment, we will fail. We must keep the instruction book close and consult it whenever we lose sight of our task.

I had just come back from seeing my oldest daughter and enjoying the grandchildren. As we were talking on the phone, I was feeling a little melancholy and mentioned how much I long to be used of God but felt I was missing the mark. “I just don’t want to miss all God has for me to do,” I said. “Mom, you’re not looking at this right. If it weren’t for you, the words you’ve spoken, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Your grandchildren wouldn’t be what they are today. Shannon wouldn’t be who she is today.”

“But they were happy just to see those promises coming far in the future. They accepted the fact that they were like visitors and strangers here on earth.” My focus must remain on Jesus. My assignment is temporary. My home is not earth. I must remain faithful to the call to seek the face of God, to hear his voice, to obey his commands for me. If each of us did this, can you imagine the heritage of faith we would leave in the earth?

Father, forgive me for getting sidetracked, distracted, melancholy, downhearted, discouraged. I turn my face back to you, the lover of my soul, the face I long to see, the one who has a city prepared for me. Your Word, alive and powerful, will never return empty or lifeless. It brings hope to the hopeless, faith to the faithless, life to the lifeless. It’s what makes me get up early full of joy. I will enjoy this journey of faith. It will take me farther than I’ve ever traveled and lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.  You are well able to keep what I’ve committed to you. There’s no sense in both of us thinking about it. You have it, so I’ll let it go. In Jesus’ Name and for your glory. Amen

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