Recently Joni and I checked a trip off our ‘bucket list.’ Okay, we don’t actually have a ‘bucket list’ (a list of those things we want to do before we ‘kick the bucket’ – die), but we traveled to a place we had always wanted to visit. We vacationed for a week, with our daughter, in Australia. I saw a kangaroo ‘up close and in person.’ We petted and posed for a picture with a koala bear. We hiked the Blue Mountains (their version of the Grand Canyon). We walked and biked on several of the most beautiful Sydney beaches. We climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, saw the famed Opera House, toured the Royal Botanic Garden, and ate plenty of fish and chips! It was a memorable and enchanting trip.
But it did come with one, small difficulty. Traveling to the other side of the world and back in a 10-day time frame really got my body and mind confused. When we got there and tried to sleep, I would wake up at 4:30am (wide awake!) and crash by 8pm. When we returned to Georgia I struggled to fall asleep at night and to drag myself out of bed in the morning. I honestly couldn’t tell whether I was in ‘daylight savings time’….. ‘down under’…..or somewhere in between. I wouldn’t call that a major problem, but it was frustrating and exhausting!
As I reflected on that, it occurred to me that we, as Christians, experience a similar challenge. We live in this world of ‘sin and death’ (Ephesians 2:1, 2) and become accustomed to the darkness and rebellion all around us. (John 1:5; 3:19) Then, we learn the truth. (John 14:6; 3:16) And we put our trust in Jesus to save us. (Acts 2:38; Romans 10:9, 10) We begin to follow the leading of God’s Spirit and we are changed (Galatians 5:16-23) to the extent that our bodies, minds, and spirits can become very confused. It doesn’t feel like we belong in this world anymore. (I Peter 2:11) We find ourselves longing for another home! (Hebrews 11:13-16) The things believed, said, and done here are confusing, frustrating, and destructive. “Why do people hate and hurt and kill each other?” And when we tell people about a better way to live and of a world of light and love, they accuse us of being hateful and blind ourselves. It highlights the fact that we are not at home yet! (Revelation 21, 22)
So why does God leave us in such a confusing state and such a difficult place? Because it is filled with lost people who desperately need to find their way home. Our heavenly father doesn’t want them to perish. (II Peter 3:9) He calls us to help them find their way home. (Matthew 28:19, 20; I Peter 3:15, 16) Joni and I met a young man like that on the flight to Australia. We encountered a young musician, while we stretched our legs during the 15 hour flight, who was on his way home. Raised in a loving, but non-religious home he was interested in learning about our counseling ministry and what Christians believe. So we shared our faith, encouraged him to check out the Hillsong Church (known for their cutting edge music), and have prayed for him since. I ask God to give me opportunities like that every day!
We are in this world, but not of this world, so that we can help those lost in this world, find their way home to a better place! Remember that as you scratch your head over the latest insanity you’ve seen or heard….or when you awaken at 4:30 in the morning and can’t get back to sleep. Maybe the Spirit is calling you to pray! : )