Thought for the Day by Tony Whatmough from St Michael’s:
“The God of glory appeared to our ancestor Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, “Leave your country and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you.” Then he left the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God had him move from there to this country in which you are now living.”Acts 7: 3-4
This fits surprisingly and sadly into our current debate about refugees. I personally cannot conceive of a situation where life is so bad that I have to climb into a tiny boat and push off into the sea to head to a country that I did not know, where they speak a language which is not my own, and where I know that I shall not probably be welcomed.
Yet it is a common theme in the Bible. Not only Abraham, we find it cropping up throughout the Bible, perhaps summed up in the letter to the Hebrews: For here we have no abiding city, but we seek the city that is to come. (Hebrews 13:14)
And so what are we meant to do? Again, the Bible has the answer: “‘When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The stranger who lives as a foreigner with you shall be to you as the native-born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you lived as foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am Yahweh your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34)
And of course it applies to Jesus himself. Jesus left his home in heaven to live among us as one of us. All the things that challenge us, challenged him too.
As the hymn writer, Richard Baxter, wrote:
Christ leads me through no darker rooms
Than He went through before;
And he that in God’s kingdom comes
Must enter by this door.
So in these difficult times, let compassion rule our hearts and actions. Whether it is refugees fleeing situations that we can’t possibly imagine, whether it is people worried about the future, whether it is we ourselves trying to cope with uncertainty, let us remember Baxter’s hymn:
My knowledge of that life is small;
The eye of faith is dim;
But ‘t is enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him!
Whatever might befall us, we shall be with him.