Longing for a Better Country – A Heavenly One
By Heather Allen –
“Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you” (Revelation 3:2-3, NIV).A man, a stranger, sat himself at our table. I was drinking a cappuccino & playing speed scrabble with two good friends. He started talking, sharing life stories then shifted, telling us Bible stories. He wanted to make sure we knew Jesus. I don’t think he believed me when I assured him, because his urgency seemed to grow. He got up & left as quickly as he had come. I watched him as he moved thru Barnes & Nobles bookstore, wondering who he was. I looked him in the eye when he ended up back at the table, telling us there was something more to say. “Jesus is coming soon,” he said intently. Before leaving he admonished us to tell others, and to live as if this were our last day. I sat in a blur; trying to remember what word I had intended to play next. Squinting at my letters, I tried to separate my thoughts from the stranger’s. There was something unsettling working at the back of my mind. I continued to mull over his words, demeanor, and intensity. I began to pray as I fiddled with my tiles, resigned to an inevitable loss.
For days I replayed the conversation, examining the way I spend my time. Wondering if the things I pour myself into have value. We live in strange times, quietly assaulted with horrific stories of brutality, decadence, greed, and self-centeredness. History reflects this human propensity toward destruction. There were others who believed they too would see Jesus return, maybe for the same reasons we see. But the stranger’s thoughts stirred me. Although I cannot recall every word he spoke, what woke me at night ironically was one thought: stay awake. So I called a few friends, read scripture and tried to understand what it meant to stay awake. Then I began to implore the Lord during those long periods of lying wide-eyed through the night. And He unfolded Scripture after Scripture. Timothy 5 says a widow living for pleasure is already dead. She is contrasted with one who puts her full hope in the Lord, and calls to Him day and night. Waking up means dropping the self-reliance, realizing everything holds together because God has decided to let the Earth continue for another day. He is the only one who can save. He is the first, last and only hope.
The Lord alone knows the timing on the eternal clock, but I can tell you that I am carrying my pack and setting my heart on pilgrimage. This is not my home. I am looking for a new country: eager to live in a better one, a heavenly one. I know God has prepared a city. I am at the back of the line. Abraham, Sarah, Noah, Enoch, Abel and thousands of others have already traversed these earthly roads searching for heavenly ones. They lived faith. They lived in hope. There were promises they never saw filled, they held on anyway. And so God was not ashamed when they called him their God.
I am holding to the promise that He will return. There are no guarantees that I will see this in my lifetime, but knowing I might is thrilling. As I wait for my bridegroom I do so acknowledging that I am poor, pitiful, blind and naked. I am throwing myself upon His mercy, asking for refined character, salve so I can see and to be clothed in white. I want to be awake, watching the sky as my redemption draws near. Come soon, Lord Jesus!
Heather Allen spends most of her time carrying for her hubby and three kids. Check out her blog at http://www.thebloodknot.blogspot.com/