Monday, March 11, 2013

Two Worlds

Monday: 11 March, 2013 –– Fourth Week in Lent
Isaiah 65:17–21 / John 4:43–54
Two Worlds

Christians live in two worlds. First, we live in the present world that is experienced through the normal senses. In this world we have the experiences –– joys, hopes, anxieties, pains –– that all people have. When our children are sick or suffering in any way, we want them to be well. We cry out to the Lord for his grace and blessing, and sometimes we receive what we ask.

The Lord’s blessings in this life are meant to encourage us to hope for even better things in the second of the two worlds we live in –– the one we do not yet see with our physical eyes. When we or those we love face a hard thing, and crying out to the Lord we have our cries answered, we are being reminded that the God who can do wonderful things for us in this world is preparing something even better in the next world.

Yet the Lord does not always answer all our prayers (at least not according to our limited understanding and desires). Sometimes we ask the Lord for relief from our pain and we are left in our pain –– or maybe it gets worse. Why? I think this, too, is a grace. It is a grace that is meant to keep us from feeling too much at home in this present world that is not forever. God gives us enough disappointment and pain to make us homesick for heaven (if we have the faith to recognize that).

And so, as we live in this world that we see and as we feel deeply its many attachments, we also need to be refreshing our perspective of what is ultimately true and lasting. That is what God tells us in this incredible prophecy from Isaiah: 

Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth;
the things of the past shall not be remembered or come into mind.
Instead, there shall be rejoicing and gladness in what I create....

We live in two worlds. Let’s keep this one in proper perspective, and never lose sight of the next.

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