Strangers in a Foreign Land

Wherever we are, there is a “Living Hope”.

Peter shares this ongoing theme in his book written from Rome to the Christians scattered throughout the foreign lands of what is now Turkey. We are not alone no matter the location and no matter the circumstance. This mentality can often bring us comfort when we are far from home.

During the last few months, I’ve been privileged to visit Israel, Palestine, and Mexico. And I’m looking forward to an upcoming trip to Australia and Laos. On one hand, these opportunities to connect around the world are a unique blessing, while on the other hand, they are a constant reminder of the value of home. Perhaps you can resonate with that.

Even while being that stranger in foreign lands, it is wonderful to connect with many Jesus followers of all different types with historical backgrounds and ways of worshipping. On a recent Sunday in San Miquel de Allende we worshiped in two Roman Catholic churches, an Episcopalian Church and connected with those who worship in a Protestant fellowship; all followers of Jesus and those we will join for eternity.

I am also reminded of all the different places and types of worship we experienced in Taybeh, West Bank and then in Jerusalem itself. Then, there are the underground worship groups in South East Asia, and the fellowship of believers coming up in Australia. We will go to India in the fall and again be joined with Jesus followers of other types and history.

Also, I am reflecting on my first assignment to deliver the Good News publicly in Romania. It consisted of a small rural church, a band, a 2.5-hour service and a packed building with people listening while standing outside the open windows of the church.

What a responsibility and what a blessing!

So, what are the common bonds that join the whole world of Jesus followers together? It is the reality that there is one God the Father who sent his Son so we could know Him personally and then followed that with His gift of the Holy Spirit so that our moment by moment walk with God can be both personal, joyful, and supported by His power and wisdom.

We all, regardless of historicity, style of worship or background, have personal access to God through Jesus and can live a life even as a stranger in a foreign land of “Living Hope”. What a blessing and what a unique way to live!

In a world that is so divided, especially in our own country, it is comforting to know that there is something more that can unify us and a greater power we can all acknowledge. Living with hope beyond our human capacity adds to the ability that we are each given to spread the word of “Living Hope” to all those around us, wherever we are.

Reaching my mid seventh decade, it is encouraging to know that God is not done with me yet, and if you are reading this, He is not done with you either! The growing understanding that the last three decades of life can and ought to be as meaningful than the prior seven helps me appreciate all that has happened before and view those life experiences through a lens of meaning, purpose, preparation, and growing capacity to know, understand and communicate.

There are the words of the hymn sung in my grandmother’s church in Grand Rapids, Michigan every Sunday, “Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow”. How true, regardless of our location or circumstance. Be blessed with Living Hope today. Amen.

Stay tuned and join in as we journey and experience a lifetime of meaning and purpose.

Bruce Bruinsma