I started reading Rumer Godden’s The Greengage Summer this evening and this paragraph caught my attention.
“We were odd, belonging and not belonging, and odd is an uncomfortable thing to be; we did not want to belong but were humiliated that we did not.”
As foreigners in Japan we know this feeling. But to be honest, I knew it long before. Even as a child my faith set me apart.
Peter says we are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession” but the other side of this truth is that in this world we are “foreigners and exiles.”
When my children struggled with identity issues (their father was Canadian, their mother was American and everyone else was Japanese) I used to tell them that they were “Tengokujin” because as the Apostle Paul wrote, “Our citizenship is in heaven.”
Our granddaughter Emily’s name reflects this. The first two characters are grace and beautiful but the third character is city. Hebrews 11 says Abraham “made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country… For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”
And why is this sense of foreignness a blessing?!
Because it helps me (and my family) to do right even when all the world is doing wrong. And this is blessing indeed!