Once upon a time, long ago a man was sent on a mission. His responsibilities were clearly laid out and for a while he kept them. But one night he went for a walk and found himself lost.
And in the domain of a foreign kingdom.
He was hungry. He was tired. He no longer had the resources provided for him by those who sent him. So he asked for help from the kingdom where he was a trespasser.
That didn’t go well.
He was taken prisoner and forced to live as an exile from home, yet never allowed to be fully accepted in the new world either. Separated from his family and friends and the only home he had ever known, he was forced to live in a remote location, where he eventually hired himself out, married, and had children. And grandchildren.
But with a heart in two countries but citizenship in only one –a place he was prevented from joining – he never stopped dreaming of home.
If this sounds somewhat like a fable, I suppose it is. Though it doesn’t align itself perfectly with scripture, it does speak in a general sense to the human condition.
We were created with a purpose.
We chose to go our own way.
We became completely lost.
We no longer had the resources provided by our Creator.
We turned for help from a hostile world.
We became prisoners in a world governed by a hostile ruler.
We learned to make our way in that world, all the while recognizing that our permanent citizenship is in another place.
And we never – never – stop dreaming of Home.
If all this actually sounds like a true story, it is. It’s the story of Wang Qi, a surveyor for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. In 1963, at the age of 23, Wang Qi wandered away from camp one evening and got lost. He wound up crossing the border into India. Tired and hungry, he asked for help from someone in a Red Cross vehicle. They took him to the Indian army. After that he spent nearly seven years in different jails, then was relocated to a remote village. He was not allowed to return home to China, nor was he given Indian citizenship.
He was a captive, longing for home.
Eventually Wang married, had children and grandchildren, and worked in a flour mill. But he never stopped hoping to return home.
Finally, 54 years later, he got his chance. Through the work of a delegation from the Chinese embassy, Wang and his family received visas to go home to Beijing last week. It was just a visit, however.
“My family is (in India),” Wang says. “Where would I go?”
I completely understand that tension – not for political or geographical reasons, but for spiritual reasons. It is a profound challenge to live and try to make the best of one kingdom, all the while being a citizen – and emotionally invested – in another.
Like Wang, one day our “embassy” will come calling with a visa to go home.
Unlike Wang, it won’t just be for a visit.
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