“For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come” (Hebrews 13:14).
I love a long walk through the trails and fields by my home. Sore feet and a tolerable ivy rash are the price I pay. Well worth it. The other day, though, I spotted a wounded deer running for its life across the open field to take cover in the high grass, and that jolted me to a harsh reality: Death is inescapable, and all is not well, not even in my chosen rural paradise.
Nor is a walk in the city park always—you know, a walk in the park. In the civilized realms, man constructs dazzling structures where he works and plays and moves about in a world of stunning variety. It is impressive and diverting and full of rewards. But it is also full of greed and quarrels, and all those buildings will eventually fall down.
The apostle James reminds us that in both city and country, for those who follow Jesus, friendship with the world is not possible (James 4:4). Boasts to the contrary, our Earth-home is decidedly not improving, certainly not evolving. It can be quite hostile.
The reality is, no matter where we live or how good the day may be, we simply cannot avoid the nag of our existence. There is a shelf-life to everything, and we do well to face that fact. That is why, I believe, every time I am tempted to place my stake in the here and now, God allows me to see this earth for what it is: wonderful, tragic, temporary. And that explains a lot about my mixed emotions, because even though I love to walk around this beautiful planet like it’s my own backyard, my greatest comfort comes from knowing it’s just a place I’m passing through.
I hope this encourages you today to seek the city which is to come.
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