On Living in the Wrong Neighborhood
- October 27, 2016
- Lori Travers
My garage is a mess. I mean, I’m not really a pack rat, but somehow everything lands in my garage. Christmas decorations, summer necessities, bins of stuff, Salvation Army future giveaways, and the recumbent bike I never use. Good intentions and occasional cleaning and rearranging make it look presentable for a brief moment, but the pile up soon appears and we are at square one again. I loathe opening my garage door lest someone should peer in and be horrified!
While walking in the neighborhood I secretly observe other development dwellers’ garages. I find theirs to be orderly, swept, clean, and organized. I, then, am horrified! When asking myself, what is wrong with me? Why can’t my garage be like theirs?? I clearly heard God gently say to me, It’s because you are living in the wrong neighborhood. You weren’t made for development living. Hmm. Is that why I was beyond confused when my neighbor three doors down was vacuuming his garage?! This odd behavior had never even entered my mind! But I pondered the Voice, and I realized I don’t belong here. Maybe out in the country somewhere, but I clearly don’t fit into the expectations of HOA.
And I clearly don’t fit into the expectations of this world’s system.
Have you noticed the sometimes subtle, sometimes not-so-subtle anti-Christian bias in the media? Whining about the news is certainly not my thing, but the obvious is, well, obvious. Social media makes it clear that if you give a Christian base for your convictions on a topic, you will be verbally assaulted. If a minister becomes sinister, the news will flash it bright and loud. But if the myriads of motivated-by-love Christians go into the world providing help, building shelter, administering food, and healing the sick, those stories are somehow absent. In the midst of this confusion, I hear the words ringing in my head, You don’t belong here.
And I hear Jesus saying, “If you belonged to this world it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19) Wow. I didn’t get that one out of the Bible promise box. It’s a truth that is hard to swallow. Jesus Himself, lived in this world, but He was not of this world’s system. He lived above it and we are called to live above it. We have a treasure awaiting us…a new address where there will be eternal, pure love, acceptance, peace, and joy. But for now we reside in the uncomfortable reality that we don’t belong. But here’s the good news…Jesus also said, “ My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” And the apostle Paul said it in a mind-blowing, soul-healing way, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ…”
Currently, I live in Kernersville, NC. My neighbors may abhor my messy garage. They may not be thrilled with my doctrine, either. But if they peer into the inside of my home, they will see love and order and a welcome place. And if they dare to peer inside my heart, I pray they find the same.
One fine day my address will change for eternity and the grubby garage will no longer matter. I’ll leave a forwarding address for those who’d like to celebrate at my new residence.