A Place to Call Home

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Yesterday I met a lady in the street, with a lovely smile. She was soon telling me that she felt “blessed” to have a son, and then described with delight how she’d been given a toffee by a stranger on the bus that morning. She had no complaints about life despite being confined to a wheelchair. There are many things in this world to be grateful for, especially if we have reasonable health and a roof over our head. Even though I live in a noisy, built-up area, I can still see beautiful sunsets over the rooftops, the trees along the road and the passing trains that get us where we need to be.

Life is hard however, for so many in this world. Watching the TV footage of the Syrian civil war, we are left in no doubt as to the horrors faced by the Syrian population. Man’s inhumanity to man knows no bounds. Imagine being a refugee, fleeing from that broken country through Turkey across the sea to Europe, finally experiencing the deprivation of the Calais Jungle camp. One refugee who did just that was Tamer, a young man, who, according to the BBC, fled Syria seven years ago with his brother, because teenage boys in his region were being forced to join the government army. “We didn’t want to hurt people; we didn’t want to kill people. That’s not us,” he said. Tamer eventually made it to Britain and applied for asylum. He had difficulty in finding accommodation, but was eventually helped by “a really nice lady”, and ended up being offered somewhere to live by the trustees of a large, historic house in south London!

‘Southside House’ has historic connections and is open to the public for guided tours and special events. Yet for Tamer it is home. He mostly works in the garden, which he says, “is my favourite place in the whole house.” His favourite object is the piano, because “Whenever anybody plays the piano in the house, you can hear the music everywhere.”

This world today is far from the paradise that it was created to be. (Sadly we chose to leave our Creator and His directions behind, and instead go our own way.) Even so, the Scriptures promise that history is finite, and that one day everything will be put right and justice will be done. In the meantime, we are surprised by glimpses of our Creator’s love: a manor house for a refugee, a beautiful sunset, a son we adore or a toffee on the bus. God is Love. He doesn’t always step in, when we think He should – He has given humanity free will – but if we draw close to Him, He will guide us through this difficult world to a place we really can call home!

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