No longer a foreigner.
“No, let me take care of this! You are foreigners,” the man pleaded as he tried to step between us and the girl. The girl could feel his patriotic embarrassment over her condition, and tried to walk away, but we were undeterred and pressed in to help.
She was 25ish, looking a bit disheveled with her corn-rows and pants sprinkled with dirt as if she had been on the ground. She wore a sle
eveless tee shirt tied in a knot in the back, giving her the “profile” of being a bartender at a no-name side street bar, hired to attract some business. But the thing that called out for our attention was the egg-sized swelling of her left eye. She was miserable and disoriented.
I could understand the man’s point: he was of this culture and town, had seen this sort of thing many times before, and knew just what to do – send her back home to suffer in seclusion. We, on the other hand, oozed with “foreign” concern for her misery, and indignation at the crime that must be brought to justice. In this land sympathy is a luxury few can afford.
But who really is the foreigner here? The one who unwittingly is in harmony with dark lords of the air claiming ownership of this world; or the one who is in league with the conquering forces of light, the one who lives in the realization that “every place your foot shall tread” is hers to influence, who acts as if he really is the bearer of light and life whose emanating rays are protons of goodness beating down the neutrons of corru
ption, who understands that the resources of the entire universe are at his disposal – the Deputy of Peace. Now who’s the real foreigner here, eh?
So as we walked the streets late Friday night with that fire-brand “Deputy” Rob Murphy, who loves to overturn the tables of injustice by offering understanding, counsel and hope of a better life to “ladies of the night” right on the very ground of their willing torture, right between clients and experiences that are shattering their souls, I realized that here is a man who understands he can go into the darkest alleys of perversion and, with impunity, release those legally held in prison because he holds a higher authority.
This is the authority Jesus
walked in – an authority not of this world – yes, foreign, yet the true and rightful owner nonetheless. His miracles did not follow requests to Father, but commands to the elements or the spiritual forces of this age. To me, this indicates not just that his father is more powerful, but that, though he is not of this world, he is the exiled Prince who is in process of coming back to claim His own, and all of creation is at his beck and call. Though foreign, he is no foreigner. And we are his kin!
Later, as we sat on the hospital bench beside Patti (we found out her name), hearing her story of being robbed and beaten and allowing our imagination to fill in the cracks of a soul caught in the backwash of life, we suddenly realized why we were here – to give her a chance of escape! Was this one of the ones “purchased for God with (Jesus’) blood, those from every tribe and tongue and people and nation”? Were we here, not as sympathetic foreigners, not merely to relieve her suffering for a moment, but as ones deputized to bring home what was purchased? Was this girl one of the rewards of Jesus’ suffering? As we prayed for her and the tears flowed we could see a heart being reunited with her rightful Father’s love.