During the Cold War, I directed several study tours of Europe. Our itinerary took us from Amsterdam to Berlin, which meant that we had to go through Communist East Germany. At the border we had to show our passports, have our luggage examined, and let the guards check the bus. We waited about 3 hours for clearance. “Remember,” one official told me, “there is no American Consulate in East Germany, so do not lose your passports or entry papers.”
Talk about feeling unwanted! The message was clear: We’ll gladly take your money but we don’t want you. We felt the animosity until we left.
As a Christian, I sometimes feel that way about this world—that I just don’t belong. The Scripture makes it clear that as believers in Christ we are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Heb. 11:13). We are citizens of a far better land (v.16). As much as we may love our native country, we’ll never feel totally at home down here—and we shouldn’t.
How do we cope with being pilgrims who are just passing through? By looking to Christ and following His example. He was also unwanted in this world. When He left His home in heaven to enter our humanity, He became the ultimate pilgrim. One day He will welcome us home.
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty,
Hold me with Thy powerful hand. —Williams
The Christian life is a pilgrim journey, not a sightseeing tour.