If we take a moment, to be honest, I think we will all agree that life in this world can be tough. We face struggles, trials, tragedies, and walk through some pretty deep valleys. If we aren’t careful, we can let those hard times shape our view of life.
My Dad was not an easy man to live with. He was consumed by addiction and emotionally abused Mom and me for more than 40 years. It would have been easy to allow the way he treated me to shape my outlook on this world.
To be perfectly honest, sometimes his words and his attitude did influence how I saw the world. Some days I just wanted to fall into a pit and never come back up.
But God – I think these have become my favorite two words in the Bible over the last three years. When Dad became ill, God showed me I had to forgive him. I had to honor God by honoring my Dad. Dad was a good provider, a talented man, skilled in so many areas, and yet saw the world through very angry eyes. The world around him shaped him into who he was and what he believed.
I remember trying to argue with God. Let me go on the record and say that arguing with God never ends in your favor; it’s best to be obedient in the first place. I can recall reading scripture and spending time in prayer wondering how on earth I could love this man who had been so mean so much of the time. Dad said horrible things to me, and made me feel so worthless – but God.
God reminded me that this world is simply a place we are passing through. He has a purpose in our sufferings and a plan for the other side of the valley. It’s not about what happens to us in this life; it’s about how we react to it. My greatest revelation was when God put on my heart that no longer should I focus on what was done to me. It was time to embrace what HE did for me.
Forgiveness came from a place that only God knew was there. Gentleness and compassion came into my heart as Dad journeyed through the end of his life, and God gave me an overwhelming peace in all of the circumstances.
He reminded me through Philippians 3:20 that being in Christ moved my citizenship from this world to the heavenly places. One day, when God determines that my work on this earth is done, he will simply move my dwelling place from here to heaven.
Paul experienced all of these challenges and far greater more than I can ever begin to image. Yet he wrote to the church at Philippi with a promise of a great future.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20 (ESV)
Paul reminds us that upon the very moment of salvation, our residency changes from this dark and broken world to the heaven. Essentially, living here on earth requires a passport and a work visa.
Our identity comes from Christ, our permanent residence is with Him for eternity, and right now, we are passing through, doing the work and taking in the experiences that He has for us.
Take hope if this life is weighing you down! A bright future awaits you in your real home, we just have to wait on God’s timing, and then our Daddy will take us to our eternal address.
Today, I encourage you to take a look at your challenges in life through God-colored glasses, rather than earthly lenses. Remember that our Father has a plan and a purpose for each road you travel in this world. Concentrate on what Jesus did for you on the cross, not what the world around is doing to you.
If you are in Christ, your citizenship is in heaven! You are here on earth purposefully passing through.