Sunday, February 10, 2013

Strangers in a strange land

I recently saw the movie Lost in Translation while flying on a plane.

At the most basic level it's a story of two people who would otherwise be strangers under "normal" circumstances becoming friends when they find themselves in a foreign country.

Similarly I've had the experience as an American studying abroad befriending and being befriended by other Americans also studying abroad when I suspect it'd be pretty unlikely we'd hit it off and become friends at all back home.

Of course, the backdrop prior to these sorts of friendships can sometimes be loneliness and isolation. We feel lost and alone. Then we meet someone who's from the same place we're from. Suddenly there's the spark of familiarity warming into friendship.

As Christians we're strangers in a strange land. Pilgrims making their trek toward the New Jerusalem. While in this world, no matter how far and wide we travel, we never entirely feel at home. We long for a better country.

In addition it can oftentimes feel like we're wandering the wilderness of this world all alone.

However when we come across other Christians there's a sense of fellow feeling between ourselves. We find delight in their company even if we have nothing else in common. Even if we can't speak the same language or otherwise communicate with one another. On occasion it might even feel like finding a long lost brother. An Ananias, Barnabas, or Faithful or Hopeful has come alongside to walk a bit with us on our long journey home.

I'll just close with a quick story. I had been traveling for a spell. I was only able to go to church here and there. Part way through I felt physically fine but spiritually dry. I woke up one morning and just prayed - or rather muttered - to the Lord and begged him to please, if he would, let me have some Christian fellowship. I prayed with some hope but with far more unbelief (I hate to admit). And I didn't think anything of my prayer for the rest of the day.

Later in the afternoon, while sitting on a bench by myself, two guys from Cru approached me. They started to share the gospel with me. I said I was a Christian. After a few more words, our hearts began to leap with excitement that we were all Christians. We encouraged one another some more. By the end of our little fellowship I believe we all felt edified to have met and spoken with one another.

We then prayed and thanked God for providing us the opportunity to have met one another. And, of course, for answered prayer.

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