So when I read 2 Corinthians 4 this morning, I understood Paul's words:
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.I've been thinking recently about the fact that believers in Christ are not citizens of this world, but of heaven. We are sojourners. I feel it. I ache for Christ's glory to reign in me and in this world.
It is easier and easier to feel the truth of this as my body shows signs of growing older (and I'm not yet 40!). But yesterday as I shared a devotion with the Field Day kids about the glory of God, urging them to seek God's glory, not their own, I noticed how difficult it is to comprehend the truth of this when youth and vigor and privilege and security envelope a child. On the one hand, it seems easy to tell kids about the Gospel, but on the other it is incredibly difficult to convince a child to yearn for heaven.
Last Sunday night our family was discussing with our kids what it means to be a citizen of heaven, to be an alien in this world. Suddenly the words to a song that I hadn't heard in years came to my head:
We are pilgrims in a strange land
We are so far from our homeland
With each passing day it seems so clear
This world will never want us here
We're not welcome in this world of wrong
We are foreigners who don't belong
We are strangers, we are aliens
We are not of this world
We are envoys, we must tarry
With this message we must carry
There's so much to do before we leave
With so many more who may believe
Our mission here can never fail
And the gates of hell will not prevail
Jesus told us men would hate usDo you remember it? Petra's Not of this World (lyrics by Bob Hartman). Here's the iTunes link:
But we must be of good cheer
He has overcome this world of darkness
And soon we will depart from here
Children blessed with a loving family, plenty to eat, shelter and clothing, even toys and amusements, don't sing "And soon we will depart from here" with much conviction. Some day their circumstances will change, however, and I pray that the truths about this that God is sowing in their hearts will come to their minds and that knowing His truth they will be able to say with deep meaning:
I am afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed by the puzzles of this world, but not driven to despair; persecuted by those who are enemies of the cross, but not forsaken; struck down by pain, hardship, disappointment, but not destroyed.Images: Toby gets a high-five after receiving his ribbons (top). Sydney and Hope and their Field Day ribbons (middle). Lane stands next to his rocket, just before launching (bottom).
(Based on 2 Corinthians 4: 8-9, italicized words added)
Field Day post from last year: 2008 Field Day
Scriptures in ESV.