Aliens and Strangers

I really like India! When I first arrived, I felt like I was home. Since my arrival, however, a number of things have dampened that feeling.

When you check into a hotel, you have to fill out a form giving your passport information, date you arrived in India, purpose of your visit, and other personal information. The hotel also is required to make a copy of your passport and visa. This information is submitted to government/police so they are aware of your movements. At one hotel, a policeman came by on the last day of our stay to enquire about our exact purpose and to get a letter detailing our itinerary.

As I am obviously not of Indian descent, I am frequently asked “Why are you here?” This question must be wisely and discreetly answered to avoid any problems (Matthew 10:16-18).

There are more and more news reports of persecution and violence against Christians in India. If native Christians are facing such things, what can I expect as a foreigner without (many) legal rights? None of the Christians in our affiliated churches have experience such violence so far. Please pray that this will continue to be true.

All these things add up to make me feel less “at home” and less welcome. But is that a bad thing?

Neither India nor the US is really my home:

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. Philippians 3:20-21

We are really foreigners in this world. We should not get too comfortable or feel too at home here. We were created for a far better and eternal home with God.

Let us be like the “heroes of faith” in Hebrews 11:12-15 and seek the kingdom God has prepared for us:

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

Through Jesus’ death to pay for our sins and His resurrection from the dead, we now have an eternal inheritance that can never fade away:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you… 1 Peter 1:3-4