Proven on earth, ready for heaven

I don’t know about you but sometimes I wonder why we have to tolerate the wickedness of this world, “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”, and why we can’t just fast forward to living forever in our heavenly home, which our Lord Jesus Christ has bought and prepared for us. Why must we wait?

There are no definitive answers to this question in the Bible, as far as I can see, but I have been encouraged recently by these thoughts. If here we have resisted brazen and tantalising temptations, there we will be impervious to those siren call because we will truly see all sin as diabolical and Christ will be our heart’s sole desire.  Here we have witnessed the destructiveness of human rebellion – cities laid to waste by bombs and rockets, homes deluged by rising waters as ice caps melt, vast rubbish tips of all that is so thoughtlessly wasted.  Just as a veteran of WW2 appreciates the desolation caused by war, yearns for peace and shuns any bellicose talk, so one who has graduated from the conflict zone of earth is ready for the heavenly rest and would never descend to hell.

Our current minds, still tempted by sin and unable to comprehend perfection, cannot imagine this state where death will be completely defeated, evil will be non-existent and Christ will be our all-in-all.

Yet, as the apostle Paul says, we need to keep moving onwards: “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).”

CS Lewis paints a wonderful picture of this call in “The Last Battle” when those who entered the heavenly realms of the Narnian universe cry out this encouragement to each other: “come further up and further in!”  What a rallying call.  All praise to the Saviour who prepares the Way, equips His followers and will one day welcome us home.

The Last Trump?

Donald is not the “last trump”, who “in a twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor. 15:52), will usher in a golden age for America, saved and redeemed from the supposed corruption of previous presidential incumbents.  Instead, he is analogous to the blasphemous “little horn” (Daniel 7:8) with “eyes like a human being and a mouth uttering great boasts.”

Trump’s claim that only he can make America “great again” completely ignores reality as he seizes for himself what only God can do: “righteousness exalts a nation” (Prov. 14:34). Tragically, dividing the world into “us” and “them”: bullying your fellow-candidates, insulting and ridiculing them, as well as demonising whole people groups, notably Muslims and Mexicans,  is diametrically opposed to everything our Lord Jesus Christ stood for.  In fact, Donald Trump drags His precious Name through the muck.

So, I’m praying for America. May this nation recognise that true greatness is found in the One who washed His servants’ feet, even though He knew that Judas would betray Him.  May they lift up their eyes from the mud-slinging to see how human hatred crucified the Saviour, how He hung there willingly, bleeding and dying for our sins.  May they know the blessing that He brings to those who make peace.