Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Being a Pilgrim People

The Christian faith seems rife with paradoxes.  We are to flee from evil yet love our enemies; it's not by works that we're saved yet our works point to our faith in Christ; we serve one God yet He is manifested in the three persons of the trinity.  The list goes on.  One of the most compelling paradoxes is the idea that believers are to be in the world but not of it.  We are to be pilgrims of sorts, on a journey toward something greater than the here and now.  We live in this world, yet it is not our home.  I'm actually often comforted by this fact.  I look around the world and see the pain and suffering and I long for something better.  The good news is that Jesus gives us hope for eternal life in which all suffering will vanish.

One thing that sets apart believers from nonbelievers is this hope of something yet to come.  We believe that the words of Revelation 21:4 will ring true when it says of Jesus, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."  A day is coming when we will never again be downtrodden or depressed, persecuted or in pain.  Jesus will triumph over evil and will once and for all defeat Satan.

I love the Narnia series.  At the end of the last book C.S. Lewis captures the wonder and hope of eternal life when he writes,  "All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and that title page; now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read; which goes on forever; in which every chapter is better than the one before."  I love to think that my life now is only the cover and title page and that the story itself is better than anything I can dream of now.

Every good thing that we experience on earth is merely a rehearsal for heaven.  A glimpse of what we will experience when we see Jesus face to face.  Sometimes I long for that day with every fiber of my being.   But until that day arrives we will be like pilgrims traveling the road of this life as we wait expectantly upon the Lord.

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