I Belong to Somebody

A pesky fly kept hovering around my three-year-old granddaughter Nikki and me as we glided back and forth on the porch swing. I brushed it away a few times then began singing a folk tune:

Shoo, fly; don’t bother me

Shoo, fly; don’t bother me

Shoo, fly; don’t bother me

For I belong to somebody.

Nikki & Connor

Nikki & Connor

Flippantly, I asked Nikki, “Do you belong to somebody?”

She nodded vigorously.

“Well!” I thought, “I wonder what she’s thinking.”

I soon found out. In a tiny whisper, she said, “Mommy, Daddy, Baby Connor.”

She had a warm, secure sense of belonging.

Some of us don’t. The good news is: regardless of the breakdown of human relationships, we can all feel special and connected–because of God’s overwhelming love for us.

There are some statements in the Bible that melt my heart.

You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself (Exodus 19:4 NIV).  The Lord is talking here about how he rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and brought them–not “to Mt. Sinai,” not “to the the Promised Land,” but “to myself.”

As Jesus rode in Jerusalem a few days before his arrest and crucifixion, he said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37 NIV). 

During Jesus’s last prayer in the company of his disciples, he prayed first for his disciples then for all who would believe on him. In that part of his prayer (which includes me, and hopefully you) he said:  “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory” (John 17:24). It wasn’t good enough to finally be returning to his home in heaven–he wanted to take his beloved followers with him.

Such is the tender affection of God toward us! Such is his desire to gather us into a relationship with him that will heal our hearts and put us on the path to total fulfillment.

I just re-read today some words by Francis Frangipane, founder of River of Life Ministries in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He said that “everything that defines us” is influenced by what we believe about the true nature of God. “If we do not believe God cares about us, we will be overly focused on caring for ourselves. If we feel insignificant or ignored by God, we will exhaust ourselves by seeking significance from others. However, once we realize that God truly loves us . . . we can find rest and renewed power for our souls.” *

There’s not one of us who cannot “belong to somebody”–to God, our maker, our shepherd, our redeemer, our Father, our divine friend. What if you want to believe that, but you’re just not feeling it? Read the Bible, looking for his care and his affection. Think deeply about it. Talk to him. Tell him you want to really know him.  You want to know he loves you. He has been waiting for you to ask.

 Come near to God and he will come near to you (James 4:8 NIV).

___________

*Francis Frangipane, And I Will Be Found By You, (Cedar Rapids: Arrow Publications, 2009), p.83.

 

4th OF JULY: Home Is Where the Heart Is

I did not grow up in the United States.  My parents were Free Methodist missionaries, so I grew up on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola—on the Dominican Republic side. When I was thirteen, our family relocated to Nogales, Arizona, on the Mexican border. It took me a while to sort out where I belonged. I counted two very different cultures as “home.” I loved both the Latin American island life of my childhood and my new life in the U.S., but I also saw flaws in each culture.

What finally settled the issue for me had nothing to do with which culture or nation was “better.” What it boiled down to was the fact that my parents had passed on to me their love for their country. To this day, the United States feels like home, because that is where my heart is.

Does this “blind nationalism” make sense to me? No, it doesn’t. But knowing where we belong touches a deeper place in us than reasoning can reach. God created us with an innate capacity for relationship and belonging.

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18 NIV).  

“God sets the solitary in families” (Psalm 68:6 NKJV).

“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people (Jeremiah 31:33 NIV)

The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspringforever (Genesis 13:14-15 NIV).

God wants us to belong to him in a loving relationship. And he set us in other groups—nations, families, and friends—to enjoy and care for each other.

 

Making It Personal

  • What do you love about this land? (If you are not an American, what do you love about your country?)
  • Do you have a firm sense of belonging to a nation, city, family, neighborhood, church, etc.? If not, you can turn to God for his acceptance and love—and placement in supportive “families.”