There Aren’t Any Nos
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” … So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. – Genesis 12:1 & 4 (NRSV)
What grounds for leaving your country and heading to another are legitimate? On the long list of possible reasons a man and his family might leave his homeland and head to another, which ones are you willing to accept?
If a guy shows up where you live and says, “I met God … or maybe an angelic messenger, it’s not totally clear which, ha ha, but it was definitely some sort of heavenly being, you know? Anyway, they told me I should move here and live with you guys.” Do you let that guy in?
Or if he’s all, “Look, there aren’t too many of us right now, but the plan is to really have a lot a lot of babies? And then sort of fill up this place? And then like cause a massive demographic shift and transform the culture in a bunch of unpredictable ways? Would that be cool?” Is that a guy you let in?
God says yes.
What about someone looking for work? Fleeing violence and persecution in a home country? Fleeing natural disasters? Looking to reunite with family? Just wandered accidentally across the border and settled down? Poor and showing up with nothing but need?
All yesses, according to God.
I’m not saying that immigration policy is an easy nut to crack. I’m just saying that if you’re looking to the God of our Bible to help you answer the questions, her policy positions are crystal clear.
O God, guide us—sojourners all on someone else’s land—in doing your will. Amen.
Quinn G. Caldwell is a father, husband, homesteader and preacher living in rural upstate New York. His most recent book is a series of daily reflections for Advent and Christmas called All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas. Learn more about it and find him on Facebook at Quinn G. Caldwell.