This picture was taken in New Zealand, the beautiful country which I have never left. It was just such a scene as this which I gazed upon as I returned from a family reunion in Wanaka at the end of 2012. Wanaka is in Central Otago, a dry, tussocky place, like the one shown here. After two days of fulfilling the Newton family motto, “If you’re not eating, you’re not having a good time,” my coastal eyes were homesick – for the sea.
As we drove down the Waitaki Valley (and yes, it might help if you looked this all up on Google Maps!), I felt an aching tug in my heart, because I was going home.
However, as I thought this over, I realized that where I was headed was not actually my home. Instead, this moment served as a picture of heaven, that far-off country which we cannot see. It was a reminder of that fact of my heavenly citizenship.
Whenever I see a striking part of God’s creation like this one, I see it as a glimpse and a shadowy picture of heaven. These moments come and go, but the knowledge of living where I do not belong does not.
The longing to see my home in Oamaru was soon replaced by a stronger one, that of waiting for the return of Jesus in the clouds, and our ascension into heaven. Only then will we truly be at home. Because, after all,
This world is not our home.
I had an uncomfortable thought a while ago which really challenged me, and I would like to share it with you.
1 Corinthians 3:16 says “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” So, for the purpose of this post, please imagine for a short while, in your head, a temple or building, and that that building is yourself.
My thought was this: What if every word you ever spoke was written on those walls for all the world to see? Your carefully cultivated image stands no longer.
Know this: God has heard all those words. Even those you think are okay, He sees as stinking rubbish, because of your sinful nature which pollutes them.
BUT – and this is the most important ‘BUT’ for all of us – if you believe, trust, and know that Jesus Christ died for your sins, God doesn’t see them! All your sinful words are covered over by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Instead of a pile of rubbish, God sees Jesus’ righteousness, given to you as a free gift!
Now, some may think that the world sees doesn’t matter . . . actually, it does! And it is not because you need to maintain your image of being a perfect girl who “has it all together.”
No, the image we need to maintain is that of one who was dead in her sins, and has been chosen, by God, to be His Daughter, and is so full of joy that she just loves to serve God and man with all her heart and speech!
And we must maintain it because it is true, not just as an image. We must be that girl!