Once again I realize that I have been looking at things through the eyes and heart of someone from a different culture. It seems to be something that I cannot un-learn. When you grow up in a different country, you take on the traits of that culture. How you think, how you feel, how you react – all parts of the young you that made you who you are. Boom! Clarity.
Recently, something happened that hurt me deeply, yet those closest to me did not understand my reaction to the pain. In the early hours of the morning, God spoke so softly and sweetly to me saying, “Honey, it may be that no one will ever truly understand the way you are. You react the way you do because I placed you in a land during your formative years that make you who you are today. I made you for a purpose, to love passionately and feel deeply. You may never be understood, but I created you that way. When you are hurt or dismayed, keep turning all of your passions to Me – I will never disappoint you. You are my precious child and I love you so very much!”
Devotions, along with my cup of coffee, were aimed right at the same topic, almost as if God is trying to get the point home to me through Scripture, (ya think?!) The word, “Sojourner,” came up.
I’m a sojourner (stranger) in these parts;
give me clear directions.
Webster defines it as such:
noun \ˈsō-ˌjərn, sō-ˈ\
: a period of time when you stay in a place as a traveler or guest
: a temporary stay <a sojourn in the country>
So began a search into my Guidebook:
Leviticus 19:33, 34
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. Rather, treat the foreigner staying with you like the native-born among you — you are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am ADONAI your God.
“Do not beat an outsider down. You yourselves know how it feels to be outsiders. Remember, you were outsiders in Egypt.
When Moses heard these words, he left Egypt at once. He lived as a sojourner (stranger) in the country of Midian.
[Prompted] by faith he dwelt as a temporary resident in the land which was designated in the promise [of God, though he was like a stranger] in a strange country.
I feel like a stranger visiting here on earth.
I need to know your commands.
Don’t keep them hidden from me.
Hear my prayer, O Yahweh!
Listen to my cry for help!
Do not ignore my sobbing!
For I am dependent on you, like one residing outside his native land;
a traveler passing through the earth.
All of us at some point or other, feel like sojourners – strangers in our own skin, strangers to circumstances we find ourselves in, out of place, out of sync, just not fitting in, not being understood. This is when we can find comfort in these Scripture verses, sent to us straight from our Father to help us through these feelings. He hears our cry! He cares about our every thought, our every pain, our every foreign feeling. He captures our tears and stores them, because each one is precious to Him!
You have seen me tossing and turning through the night. You have collected all my tears and preserved them in your bottle! You have recorded every one in your book.
See, I have tattooed your name upon my palm.
Do you know why God does this? Not only does He love us, but He understands us! He gets it. He’s been there.
Hope of Israel,
its Savior in time of distress,
why are You like a foreigner in the land,
like a traveler stopping only for the night?
So when my, “soul melts away for sorrow,” God will, “strengthen me according to His Word!” (Psalm 119:28) We can be encouraged, as we are only passing through. This world is not our home. We do not have to fit in. We do not have to be like everyone else. We do not have to be understood. God created us to be unique, to go through the things in life in order to be shaped, molded to become the person He wants us to be.
Life is full of pain. My heart has been shattered on many occasions and I will be hurt many more times before my sojourn on this earth is over. My cry out to God is this final verse – I hope it will be yours, too.
Your statutes (instructions) have been my songs
in the house of my sojourning, (wherever I am living).