This is our story: Day 1

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Read: Hebrews 11

Walking into the barren refugee camp in Northern Iraq I wondered how it must feel to be forced to leave everything that is familiar and comfortable and become a stranger in a new land. Despite the destruction and horror those refugees had left behind, many spoke about their desire to go home – back to the place they belong.

The great heroes of the faith we read about in this passage were also called to live in unfamiliar territory. Unlike the refugees in the camp however, they had a choice – whether to listen to God’s voice and then walk in obedience. It was uncomfortable (think camping!), embarrassing (a boat on dry land?), meant giving up privilege and position (Pharaoh’s palace) and even led to some giving up their lives.

Over the years, we have had the privilege of meeting many wonderful refugees in our church. Whilst grateful they are safe, they often express the challenge of living as strangers in a foreign land and there’s something that resonates with my experience of being a Christian: being misunderstood, people being nervous that your values and customs are going to disrupt their own, feeling out of place and different to those around you.

As people of faith and followers of Jesus today, God calls us to leave that which is familiar and respond to his voice and calling. Maybe you are experiencing a nudge from the Lord to step out in faith and obedience in a new way? It might mean standing out from those around you, speaking up on an issue of justice, giving up comfort and security or simply reaching out to someone who is different to you.

When our small team first stepped out in obedience and delivered some boxes to newly arrived refugees in our city, we were scared and well out of our comfort zone! We have since seen thousands welcomed to Derby and finding a home here, both in our church and our community. This scripture reminds us that there is much more promised than what we have already seen!

One day we are going to rule and reign with Jesus over the new heaven and new earth, and have the joy of seeing everything restored as it should be – a home for everyone who wants to belong. And that will make this current journey of faith absolutely worth any challenges and hardships along the way!

Questions:

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  • Why, and how, do you think God asks us to leave what is familiar when we follow him?

  • Who do you know, perhaps in your church, who has taken a step of faith in their lives?

  • How can we follow the example of the people mentioned in Hebrews 11?

  • As Christians, how are we living as strangers on earth?

  • Does your journey of faith include welcoming refugees?

Karina Martin

Executive Director, Welcome Churches

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Emily Holden