There and Not Quite Yet Back Again

When I graduated from high school our very own Vikki Luce provided me with a devotional book incorporating The Hobbit with teachings in the Bible. I decided to reopen it as I was unpacking in my new home. The second chapter seemed to resonated with my situation. The author, Ed Strauss, discussed the gripes of traveling outside the Shire expressed by the main character of The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. In fact, the description Strauss gives about Bilbo’s journey was pretty close to my own. “They first passed east through the Shire-land the hobbit knew well. Later they rode through lonesome lands, where the roads grew steadily worse, and passed ruins of ancient abandoned castles.”

Going east through Colorado through the lonesome lands of Nebraska and Iowa, past ancient, abandoned castles that were once farms. Once I arrived at my new destination I felt like a stranger in a strange land, a foreigner. Strauss uses Hebrews 11 to talk about the lessons God gives us in times of being a foreigner and pilgrim. Hebrews 11 talks of the heroes of the Bible, they were called to be the foreigner and pilgrim in strange lands. It is when we are the foreigner and pilgrim that we are forced to create new faith communities and widen our nets.

Over the next two years (at least), I will follow in the steps of those who came before us and grow to love the great state of Minnesota as it no longer becomes a strange land of cheese curds. As you enter into new areas of your life that make you feel like a foreigner or pilgrim, remember, God has laid out examples before you, you are not alone. Be not afraid, He is there so you may go there and not rush on coming back to the Shire again.

Sam Jacobs

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