“All these died in faith…having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13)
Life is strangely and wonderfully filled with ambiguities and mysteries. It’s always wonderful to come home, especially after an absence of several days. I love the adventure of unknown places in the world. I discovered that spending two winters two hundred and fifty miles above the Arctic Circle at Prudhoe Bay.
Yet, coming home holds some feelings of not really being where I want to be. Maybe it’s the wanderlust in me. I love driving in the countryside; and almost being three-quarter of a century old, the woods, lakes, streams and meadows seem lovelier than ever before. I get to feeling that I’m going to miss all this beauty when I go toes up and they plant me in the family plot.
But that gets me thinking of life after my demise – that is when my biological clock has ticked its last beat. Reminds of some wise words I read long ago…
“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!”
I’m sure Wordsworth saw much more in nature than most of us. I hear his words in my memory…
“I wandered lonely as a cloud
that floats on high o’er vales and hills,
when all at once I saw a crowd,
a host, of golden daffodils;
beside the lake, beneath the trees,
fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
Ah, the beauty of life all around us! But then I wonder, did Wordsworth see beyond this life? Did he gaze with the eyes of his spirit and wonder what the Celestial City might be like?
“And the city had no need of the sun or the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. And the nations shall walk by its light, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it. And in the daytime (for there shall be no night there) its gates shall never be closed; and they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it; but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:23-27).
As a professing Christian, I’m convicted of being too much with the world. I’m shamed by my spiritual shallowness. Jesus said,
“If he world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).
It’s truly a shame that we can’t be different enough to be hated by the world. I have friends and work associates who really don’t like me. I don’t always laugh at their jokes. They seem to try to get a reaction out of me by their coarseness. But they don’t hate me. I try to be a nice guy. It makes me wonder if I can say, like Paul,
“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God” (Romans 8:18-19).
The creation groans to be relieved from the curse. And God’s people groan in spirit, longing also to be delivered from being “strangers and exiles on the earth.” Yes,
“we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23).
Oh, to look beyond the glories of this present world to the ultimate glories that await those who walk in the footsteps of the Savior! Oh, to be able to confidently say with Paul,
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
God give us such a vision!