Joanna Coppedge, Missionary, Scotland
The Call, July-September 2016
The beauty of the gospel is that it doesn’t matter where we are from, where we currently call home, or where our passport leans heavy on stamps. Jesus loves us all and came to make His home in us, if we will but welcome Him!
After having recently given birth to our fifth baby on our third continent, I am beginning to wonder if I might need to look more closely at this issue of migration and the loss of one’s home and home culture. And with our family growing, it is no longer just my husband and I who have to answer these questions of cultural identity. Our children are 8, 6, 4 (twins), and brand new. A couple of them still consider their home in Arua, Uganda, to be their true home. One is certain that she is from the United States of America (where we have never lived as a family, only visited, but it is our passport country and their grandparents’ home). One asks when we go to the grocery store if we are going to Scotland now or if we are still in St. Andrews (we currently live in St. Andrews, Scotland), and our littlest fella is currently waiting for his residence visa…some claim so he can legally be in our family! Needless to say, we have some culturally confusing conversations around our breakfast table.
1 Peter 1:1-2 (MSG) talks of exiles: “I, Peter, am an apostle on assignment by Jesus, the Messiah, writing to exiles scattered to the four winds. Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus. May everything good from God be yours!” As I recently prepared a Bible study on this text and prayed over it, it brought me continually to my little people and their own apparent rootlessness. Will they grow and be just scattered, blowing in the wind? It was quite a frightening thought. The Father patiently encouraged me to read on…“Not one is missing, not one forgotten.” His attention is on each one of them. He knows them by name and has good, pleasing, and perfect plans for them. Jesus Himself has redeemed them, and they are kept by His Holy Spirit. These promises provide security and hope for a wanderer in this world. What confidence we can have even when our passport is thick and growing. He sees us, knows us, and keeps us.
In fact, the company of wanderers is not all bad. The call of Abram to leave his own country and walk with God has had a profound effect on my own walking out of my faith and following Jesus. Abraham’s migrating and leaving of family and home culture ultimately proved to be a significant part of God’s redemptive plan for the globe.
We are witnessing a great migration here in Europe today. Horrible atrocities are forcing millions from their homes. Yet, spiritual persecution, mass exodus, and homelessness are not new or unique to this day and age. Such struggles and transitions are as old as Genesis. Just as Abram had to choose to trust God on his wandering journey, so also am I learning to trust Him. Even more, I am learning to trust Him with my family.
Will you trust Him with your own faith journey and the path your family is on? How is He leading you just now? Does it seem a bit scattered? He is trustworthy. Will you pray with us for those on unplanned migrations around the world, seeking stability, that they will seek Jesus?
PRAY: "Jesus, there is a confident peace that comes in the assurance that You know each of us by name. You know our circumstance, the concerns of our soul, and our daily provisional needs. Beyond that, You have good, perfect plans for each of us. I pray for those who feel scattered, who may feel vulnerable, and who have made the decision that an unplanned migration is necessary at this time. Jesus, send them peace that passes understanding and encourage their hearts with Your promises. May each of us seek You, and may we be obedient to Your leading. Amen."