I was watching 'UK Border Force' today, and it actually was a really powerful picture for me of how lost people are. If you have't ever watched this show its basically a documentary following the UK immigration officers and border police as they run around the country tracking down illegal immigrants and deporting them, or they search freight trucks for clandestine's at the borders. Well on one episode today, they stopped a freight truck coming over from France. After searching the truck, they found 17 people squeezed under crates of yoghurt. They were made to pile out, and the absolute disappointment on their faces is ingrained on my mind. They were Afghanistan and had been living in the Jungle in France for over a year, hoping for an opportunity to escape to England, where they expected to be finally living their dreams. When asked 'Why England?' their answers gave England the impression of being a land flowing with milk and honey... they wanted better lives, better jobs, safety, knowledge. Their previous homes had not been great, they had been left with dreams of a happier life, a place to truly call home. And somewhere along the line, they had been told, they would find their dreams and happiness in a little place called the United Kingdom. They were all sent back into France. The next day, the border control found another truck with clandestine's hidden amongst the freight it was transporting...this time there were about 6 of them. What was surprising, was that one of them was covered in dry yoghurt, and that was because he was one of the lads who had attempted to cross the border in a yoghurt truck the day before. He had been sent back to the jungle in France, and he so desperately wanted to be in England, that on probably no sleep at all, he re-attempted the emotionally draining process of raised hopes, only to have them dashed again.
The border force also went to various car wash businesses in England to arrest illegal immigrants, working without the necessary visa's. On making several arrests it was mentioned that for a ten hour day of work, these immigrants were being paid a mere £15/day. I wonder how far that reality was, from their dreams of the UK. They had risked their lives, and in cases they had given up everything to get here, only to find, that work was not easy to come by, and they would be paid peanuts, and would struggle to afford to live here too. My heart broke for them. They had a wearied and defeated look about them, I imagine this is often the state of the non believers heart - they are all wondering, striving for better, hoping for a feeling of belonging, seeking to fit in, dreaming of sweeter. They never quite feel at home, though they cant put their finger on it. They don't have the hope that Christians do, the joy of knowing, that this home is only temporary. Philippians 3:20 reminds us 'For our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ' - What an awesome truth!! What especially strikes me is the 'eagerly awaiting' bit...because that is what we have in common with non-believers - we are eagerly awaiting Jesus, as they are eagerly awaiting their dreams to come true, eagerly awaiting a better life. We are both waiting... But the all important and crucial difference, the whole reason that Christians can have peace that passes understanding, is because they know our waiting is temporary, not indefinite. We know that we will be with Jesus, we will be home... and that my friends, is so very exciting. In every trial and pain that we face, we know, that this is not forever. God reigns, and one day, we will be with Him - we will be HOME. There is such freedom in that knowledge. And although this freedom is available for the taking, so many people blindly live in captivity. The lady who stands outside our corner shop, always intoxicated, always yelling at someone - captive. The teen who feels she is only as good as the sex she gives out - captive. The little boy who is so angry, he wont get through an hour with me without spitting and yelling - captive. The man who is going through divorce for the 3rd time due to infidelity - captive. I could go on. These are all examples of people who are seeking for more. They know in the depth of their hearts, that there is more to life than what they have...but they are looking in all the wrong places. That longing they have is one that God has given us, because we were never destined to remain here... they have mistaken that longing...and it is the saddest thing to watch.
I want to pick them up and tell them that the place they are looking for does truly exist, I want to share the hope of Revelation 21:4 - He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. I worry about what the state of their hearts is, because I know that without the hope of Jesus and heaven, my heart would be in a dire mess.
I am so excited about the prospect of going home, to finally be with my Jesus, but I am also challenged, I am challenged that I desperately need to up my game on sharing this hope with the lost.... God is breaking my heart for those people more and more each day...I dont want any of them to miss out on what God has offered us all. I think for that very reason, I hope to never lose the devastating image in my mind of an illegal immigrant who's hopes are shattered when he realised he still wasnt home. I want it to motivate me to share the exciting truth of heaven to everyone. Not just within my ministry areas... but within my suburb and city... I want God to push me way out of my comfort zone for the sake of people coming to know Him. Pray for me as I seek to respond to this challenge...and I pray you too will be challenged to share the joy we have.