The Stranger

He didn’t belong here and he knew it. He was only passing through.

He pulled his coat around himself and kept marching. The sun rose above a lone mountain in the distance, making an early frost glisten in the yellow rays of light. The man’s breath left little puffs of moisture in the air while his boots made quick and even clicks on the road.

“Who is that?” One woman looked out her window as he passed by.

“I’ve never seen him before,” said her husband. “He’s not from around here.”

The man walked up one street and down another. Others noticed him, too.

“Who is he? What an odd coat he wears.”

“Yes, and a funny hat. Where did he come from?”

“Even the way he walks is different. Where is he going?”

The man knew people were watching him, but he kept walking. By now a small crowd had gathered on the edge of town, ready to start their daily tasks. Several trails led out to the countryside in different directions, and the stranger was headed toward one of them. The people asked one another who the man was.

Finally a young boy stopped the strange man as he neared. “Please, sir, tell us who you are and where you are going?”

The man stood still and looked at the boy. The crowd grew silent in order to listen to his answer.

“I am a citizen of another country, young man, the country called Heaven over there on the mountain. And that is where I am going. There is a grand and glorious city there. Did you want to come along?”

The crowd gasped. The boy shook his head. “N-no, sir, I like it here,” he said.

“No, indeed!” another man shouted. “We’re quite happy living in this town.”

A woman sniffed and added, “I wouldn’t mind going there, but the way is much too difficult.” She pointed to the trail the man had already stepped onto. “I would never take that terrible road anywhere!”

The stranger smiled. “But this way leads to home.”

“For you,” another man muttered in disgust. “Go away from us.”

“Yes, go away. You are a Heavenite. You don’t belong here!” Someone threw a clod of dirt at the stranger.

The man turned around and continued down the trail. Before he had traveled out of their reach, he heard the thud of another mud ball hitting the ground beside him. He kept walking. Their sneers and mockery soon became distant sounds in his ears. He fixed his eyes on the mountain where he knew his own country lay. He also knew other dangers could lurk along the path, and there would be steep and rocky hills to climb as well. The woman in the town was right—this was a very difficult road.

None of this stopped the stranger, though. Heaven’s blood coursed through his veins. He was a born citizen of that land on the mountain and he had the papers to prove it. He knew it was a wonderful place, a place where he would never be a stranger again. And that’s all that mattered. He was going home to heaven…home where he belonged.

“Let us go forth therefore unto him without [outside] the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Hebrews 13:13, 14).