I ended up making a wrong left turn and was flagged down by a NYC police. His question was quite insightful, “where are you from?” The first reply that came to mind was “Michigan” (partly explaining why I was having difficulty following all the correct traffic patterns of this teeming metropolis). I had not lived in MI for almost ten years and my drivers license identified me as a resident of South Carolina. But the place I grew up, the place I called home was the place where I still felt a sense of belonging.
As we move around the country one of the challenging aspects of the “full-timing” life is constantly being in unfamiliar places. We never stay long enough to become accustomed to an area, and we never really develop a sense of belonging.
But that’s not such a negative thing. As Christians we are never meant to feel comfortable in this world. Hebrews chapter 11 gives us many godly examples of believers who longed for a better country, a heavenly one. These people acknowledged that they were strangers and sojourners in this world. And verse 16 concludes “Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God.”
For believers there will be a sense of belonging, an eternal one, when we see our Savior face to face! And for now our familiarity, our bond of unity, is found with people rather than places, people who share our desire for another country.
It’s this reason that I enjoy being around other missionaries. For all the awkwardness they may feel as “third culture” travelers, they understand where our connections in this world should lie. An MK (missionary kid) I was talking with recently expressed it best when I asked that loaded questions “where do you call home?” His reply, “wherever my family is, that’s where I belong!” And we are blessed to have a very large family of believers with whom we can belong!