I’ve been thinking about the statue of liberty and the words “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” (Emma Lazarus 1849-1887)
We are all refugees looking for our home. Some of us just may not realize this yet. Adam and Eve were actually the first refugees. Cast out, forced to leave behind the safety and perfection of their garden home, they became wanderers in search of a new home to replace the one they had lost. And mankind has been lost and wandering ever since.
Continually searching for that elusive, permanent place to settle in and to call home is exhausting. Jesus’ words of invitation sound so like Lady Liberty’s, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Refugees today are seeking rest; rest from the burdens of oppression, poverty, disease, crime and lack of freedom to live their lives in peace and safety. We all want a safe place we can call home. Jesus knew what it was to be homeless. “Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.’ ” (Luke 9:58)
Jesus knew what it was to be poor. He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” and James states, “Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him?” (Matthew 5:3 & James 2:5)
Abraham lived as an alien while he followed where God led him. Abimelech said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do. Now swear to me here before God that you will not deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants. Show to me and the country where you are living as an alien the same kindness I have shown to you.” (Genesis 21:22-23)
I, like Abraham, live my life as an alien here in this land. Philippians 3:20 explains why this is so. “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” Peter wrote to believers, “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” ( 1 Peter 2:11)
So I, too, am a refugee; looking for, longing for – freedom and peace and security. Jesus holds out His hands, offering me all three.
” . . . Jesus said, ‘If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ . . . Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’ ” (John 8:31-36)
“because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
“Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Corinthians 5:5)
“But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” (Psalm 33:11)
“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand.” that’s security (John 10:28)
As a refugee, wanting to flee the famine, the violence, the suffering, the losses of this life – I long for that safe place to call home. “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)
Our world is full of refugees in search of a home. My home is being made ready for me, but in the meantime I must live like Abraham, as an alien in a land not my own.
Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3)
sincerely, Grace Day