I am sitting down to write today’s devotion in my house, where I have spent almost every minute of every day for just about the last two months. There is a global pandemic going on and we are in quarantine. I pray that by the time this goes to print we will be able to go out and see family and friends, gather for church, and get on with our lives, but for now this is reality. It is a hard reality for so many. There is so much uncertainty and fear. Hundreds, and even thousands, of lives have been lost along with millions of jobs and dreams. This has been a devastating time. I have certainly gotten wrapped up in the emotions. I have found myself fearful for the health of my family, and anxious about the possibility of losing my job. What if we cannot pay our bills? What if we will never see certain friends or family again? What if? I am sure that you can fill in the blank with your own fears you remember from the time or maybe even are still feeling in the after-effects.
In times where it seems like everything is falling apart, we often find ourselves asking, “Why Lord?” I wish I could answer that in one quick and easy devotion, but I cannot. However, every time I get caught up in the chaos of the world and end up at that question there is a song that comes to my mind that always puts me back on track. It is called “The Reason for the World” by Matthew West.
There are no words in times like these
When tears don’t hide the tragedies
And all you want is a reason for the world
No comfort in the greeting card
‘Cause God is good but life’s still hard
And your heart just wants a reason for the world
But maybe the reason for the pain
Is so that we would pray for strength
And maybe the reason for the strength
Is so that we would not lose hope
And maybe the reason for all hope
Is so that we could face the world
And the reason for the world
Is to make us long for home.
I just love that flow of thought. Maybe the reason for the world is to make us long for home. It is not our earthly home, but our true home that awaits us with the Lord in Heaven. It can be so easy to get wrapped up in our temporary life but for those of us who know the Lord as Savior, this is just the waiting room to eternal life, where there will be no more pain and sorrow. The apostle Paul was certainly no stranger to suffering, having endured much opposition and persecution in his lifetime. Yet he counted it as joy and used his experiences to help and encourage his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
In 2 Corinthians 5:1-2 (NLT), he touches on our lives, both the temporal and the eternal. “For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing.” I love how Eugene Peterson paraphrases the following few verses in The Message: “Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.”
God has given us a beautiful world, filled with wonderful people and things. It is also a fallen world filled with sin, trial, tribulation, and sorrow. We tend to float back and forth in a strange balance. Whichever place you find yourself in now, remember and reflect on the hope that we have through Jesus and in what He has prepared for us. While we wait, our mission as Paul writes in verse 9 remains: “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him.”