Deep within the human heart, there is an intrinsic desire to be seen, to be known, and to be loved. We crave intimacy—“into-me-see”—and seek it out it in many places, including friendship, family, romantic, and spousal relationships.

Just as few things are as rewarding as emotional and heartfelt intimacy with those we hold dear, few things are as damaging as to be unseen, unknown, and unloved. The sense of detachment that creeps out of such feelings has many times led the hopeless to take their own lives.

Humankind was made for relationship, and when we feel excluded from it, we often become depressed, despondent, and desperate. We recognize within ourselves the need to belong to something bigger, for our hearts to be cradled in hands broader than ours. When that need goes unmet, it creates a void that nothing else can fill.

Have you ever attended some kind of social function where you didn’t know anyone? Or perhaps where you did know some people, but they were too busy with other acquaintances to pay you any mind? It’s reasonable to suspect there was some discomfort involved, some awkwardness—even the feeling that you didn’t belong there and couldn’t wait to leave.

There is a deep disquiet that comes from feeling like an outsider or a stranger. It can even drive us to question if there is something “wrong” with us that places us on the “outside” of everyone else, all these people around us who seem to have things figured out.

Whether you have ever experienced this estranged feeling in a social climate or not, the truth is that the status of “outsider” was once reality for everyone. We were strangers to God, outsiders of the Chosen People, until Christ came along. In his death, Jesus tore down the dividing wall that kept us on the outside looking in, and he has shepherded his followers into the Father’s fold. Our belief in Jesus brings us into a new reality—one of acceptance and understanding. Of intimacy and family.

Ephesians 2:19 tells us we are “no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow-citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God.” In The Message version, this is translated: “You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone.”

What a profound reality. Our days of wandering in the wilderness are over. We have found our home country.

We belong.

This is true of all of us, a reality which we must step into and embrace with our whole hearts, let it fill and fuel us to understand our worth and purpose. The Creator of the Universe sees, knows, and loves each of us. Jesus Christ opened the path for an intimate relationship with him and with God from which we will never be separated.

In the household of God, there are no strangers. We belong. We are family. We are home.