Yesterday morning we arrived home from our vacation in South Africa. It was a wonderful vacation. We enjoyed being back in Africa. And it was really Africa - but Africa with an infrastructure.
High point was our contact with my sister and her husband. We have never really as adults spent much time together, but because we both have lived for a long time in “foreign” countries working for Christian organisations we have much in common. We were able to share our lives with and encourage each other.
I was reminded again of the fact that we live our lives very clearly now as “strangers” and “foreigners”. We have lived so differently from our family and the friends we grew up with that we have become strangers to them. They will never understand us completely. We will never be completely at home anywhere again – not where we came from, and not where we live now.
A friend of mine reminds me often that that is a painful spot for me. And he is right. I notice that, the longer I live here in Holland, the more pain I experience as I experience what it means to be a stranger.
But there is something very positive I can do with that feeling. I can recognize it as something that has been given to me. It is part of me and who I am.
If it is true that “power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9) then this being a stranger with the pain it carries with it can be a source of strength for me – a strength that would not be there without it.
If I were to lose that pain, I would lose that strength. So I cling to the pain, not because it is fun, but because it has a goal – a country of our own. (Heb. 11:14).
We were privileged to be able to share that with family.
I will draw strength from that in the coming weeks.
It is very practical.