Embedded deep within each person’s soul there is a God-breathed, inherent need to seek out home, community and belonging. As a Jesus-follower, I strongly believe this longing can be traced back to human-kind’s original home in the Garden of Eden, where Yahweh God, the Uncreated One, our Heavenly Father and Lover of our Souls “walked in the cool of the day” (Gen. 3), and communed in perfect unity with His created ones. In that perfect garden stood the Tree of Life, waiting for its fruit to be eaten and solidifying “home” for human-kind. But, of course, we all know that didn’t happen. They ate, instead, from the other tree. In entered sin, banishment and isolation. Ever since, our souls have been desperately seeking to reclaim what was lost so very long ago—home.
Few are more acutely aware of this tragic longing than the fatherless, the widow and the foreigner, whom Yahweh so frequently advocated for when establishing justice and mercy within His chosen people Israel. What I find so lamentable is that oftentimes all three of these vulnerable people groups can be found in a single, forcibly displaced person who has lost nearly everything in life they once held dear. In particular, and far too frequently, just one person seeking asylum will have lost parents, spouse, children, home and all earthly possessions before (or while) escaping to a host country. This calls to mind the haunting words of Job, “for naked I came into this world, and naked I will return. The LORD gives and the LORD takes away.” (Job 1)
Yet, in spite of such longing, or perhaps even because of it, we see time and time again that the very people who’ve suffered such devastating loss are (in many cases) best-equipped to fully articulate the thick enveloping and healing of the Father’s great love. Certainly, they are held closest to His heart. Jesus initiated His most famous sermon—the Sermon on the Mount—by blessing those whose plight the world would much rather ignore:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Mat. 5)
It is those who “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” (Psa. 23) who are drawn deepest into the Lord’s loving arms. It is they who most powerfully testify to us “how wide, long, high and deep” Yahweh’s great love really is for all of His created ones (Eph. 3). As Betsie Ten Boom (who died in a Nazi concentration camp) so poignantly observed, “There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.” Jesus-followers who seek asylum know this beyond doubt to be true.
God’s Word is replete with examples of His tender, compassionate, parental love for the fatherless, the widow and the foreigner, and time after time He makes it clear that He expects His divine love to be replicated by His chosen people—first by the Israelites alone, then by the
Church (Israelites and Gentiles). It is not someone else’s responsibility, it is our own. And this, so that His great name might be praised and that all nations of the earth might be blessed. Consistently, repetitiously, the same corollary persists throughout Scripture. To paraphrase,
“Provide home, community and belonging, loyal love, to the fatherless, the widow and the foreigner because I first did so for you.”
Although things in the original Garden did not go as planned, they were foreseen and it was no surprise to the Uncreated One, who’s “Plan B” was also in the works before the foundations of the cosmos were laid. He determined that human-kind would eventually gain the home they so desperately seek, though not because of their own strength and determination, but because of His. Home was His idea. The tree that would eventually become a “Gateway” (Joh. 10) to home, belonging and community would not be beautiful, but grotesque. It would not have a trunk—
only a vertical beam. It would have no branches—only a horizontal bar. It would bear no leaves—only three long nails. And no birds would perch in its branches—only a Messiah.
Additionally, community and belonging will finally be restored—not only between us and the Lord but also between human-kind. Just as the Tree of Life stood in the middle of the original Garden, so it will also stand in the Eternal Garden. The Tree will produce good fruit every month to be eaten (not ignored), and this time, instead of leaves being used to cover the shame of sin, the leaves of the Tree of Life will be “for the healing of the nations.” (Rev. 22) All the pain and suffering we’ve ever inflicted on one another (by action and inaction) will be healed. Yahweh. Fixes. Everything. And it was His plan all along! Praise God!
At DASH Network, we have the unique opportunity to bless (and be blessed by) people from all over the globe who are seeking the safety of a new home, community and belonging. As Christ loved us and welcomed us into His family, so we also are to do the same for each other. My heartfelt prayer is that we, as the Body of Christ, will be filled to overflowing with the Father’s great love and emboldened to share it freely with the fatherless, the widow and the foreigner, so that, as Jesus said, “by this the world will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” (Joh. 3). Because in reality, their souls’ longing for home can only be filled with Christ’s love and He asks us, expects us, to pour out what we’ve already received from Him—lavishly and on the whole world. Because in the end, we are all seeking home.
Please join us as we Stand With DASH and hear the stories of those who have left home and are seeking a new one in a foreign land.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.” 1 John 3:1