Day 19: How {brave} are you, dear sojourner, seeking a better life in a foreign land.

In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.  Ruth 1:1 esv

But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.  Ruth 1:16 esv

The word today is {BRAVE}.

I’ve seen the word down there on the list and I’ve known all along where I’ve wanted to go with this word.  Daily in my workplace, I am amazed by beautiful women who have come from a foreign land to live in our melting pot of a town near Atlanta.  They come seeking an education for their children, and many times we struggle to communicate.  We use hand signals and point at things for clarification.  Many times the children help us translate my English to their language.

As we meet in the middle and the message becomes clear on both sides, the smiles crack open and out pops a broken English – “Thank you”.  Many times there are tears in mothers’ eyes – all they want to know is that their child will be safe with us.  They desire freedom, a better education and more opportunity for their children.pablo (93)

Almost every day I encounter a sojourner from another land…  and my words to them as we find a way to communicate with smiles and gestures…

You are a {brave} woman!

As I interact with precious sojourners learning their way in southern America, I am reminded of my childhood in South Miami.  My friends, from 2nd grade on, were most often 2nd generation Cuban.  Their parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles fled from Cuba to find freedom in America.  I enjoy rich childhood memories of visiting in their homes, listening to their fluid Spanish with dramatic tones and gestures and I delighted in their delicious native foods.

And then a time came when we learned of a German doctor whose wife and children were still living trapped behind the iron curtain.  Our local church was involved in smuggling Bibles in suitcases and then suddenly someone had the idea to smuggle the woman and children out.  I sat gripped with the tension and the danger of the plot to free these desperate people.  Only by God’s grace… the smallest child was placed in a suitcase carried in one hand by the mother and with the other held her daughter’s hand… They became free sojourners in a foreign land and a reunited family.

This has nothing to do with politics so, please, let’s not even go there.  ‘Sojourners in a foreign land’ has everything to do with God though.  In His word, we who are followers of Christ are sojourners on this earth – a foreign land – for truly we are citizens of God’s Kingdom.  poppies and wheat 31 days

Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.  Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.  1 Peter 2:10-11 esv

Naomi, she was a sojourner in a foreign land.  God’s woman, she held to the truth she knew and shared her God with the foreign young women who shared her household and her sons.  {Brave} Naomi.

And Ruth, {brave} Ruth, choosing to go and live in a foreign land to learn the ways of her new people, her new land, her new culture and most importantly her God.  {Brave} Ruth sought shelter under the wing of Almighty God, and He received her as His own.  The Lord God showered favor on Ruth and she is one of our brave examples as we seek to be Ambassadors for Christ while we are sojourners and exiles in a strange and foreign land – planet earth.

Ponders:

I’m thinking this morning of my neighborhood friend, Besserat.  She is a sojourner here in America from the country of Eritrea.  Besserat is my mom’s age, in her 70’s, speaks English, Eritrean and sign language – possibly French as well.  She and her husband were teachers in a deaf school in Eritrea.  Now Besserat is a widow, living part-time with us here in Georgia and the rest of the year in Virginia.

Through Besserat, so outgoing and often inviting some of us into her daughter’s home for freshly roasted and brewed coffee and homemade cakes, bread and popcorn, we are also getting to know her daughter and son in law.  Our Eritrean neighbors are a true delight as they share with us the rich history and culture of their homeland.

Yet, for all our differences, One unites us and He is Christ.  When we recognize we are the family of One Father and all {brave} sojourners for the Gospel, everything changes about our perspective.  We are united and free and emboldened.

  • Who do you see in your neighborhood, workplace or church who obviously is a sojourner from another country?
  • Have you extended a hand of friendship?  What richness has been added to your life from the stories of the {brave} sojourner(s) you’ve encountered recently?
  • If you haven’t had this experience, would you pray and seek God’s face?  Would you ask Jesus to teach you what you look like as a sojourner of His Kingdom on this earth?  Will you ask Holy Spirit to make a way – to open a door of friendship with a {brave} sojourner from another land?

Eyes on Jesus… you’re Shining!

~Lisa

 


2 thoughts on “Day 19: How {brave} are you, dear sojourner, seeking a better life in a foreign land.

  1. “If you haven’t had this experience, would you pray and seek God’s face? Would you ask Jesus to teach you what you look like as a sojourner of His Kingdom on this earth? Will you ask Holy Spirit to make a way – to open a door of friendship with a {brave} sojourner from another land?”

    I have copied these questions down and I’m going to post them where I can see them regularly. I live in a pretty ethnically homogeneous part of the world, so I haven’t had opportunities to interact with people who are radically different from me. But I want to. Hard and awkward as it might be for a newbie, I want to build those bridges.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marie! How fun that I feel I have a partner in this challenge. You encourage me so much by reading along and adding feedback.

      I love your heart to learn, to be challenged and to be asking the Lord to give you opportunity to build relationships with people ethnically diverse. I’m willing to challenge myself to seek God’s face for deeper interactions and relationships in my own community.

      I am feeling a bit sad today as my friend Besserat left today to spend the winter months in Virginia! I will miss her so much. She has asked me to be intentional in seeking a friendship with her daughter, Eden. So, Lord, open doors. =)
      Bless you, friend!

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