Sunday, April 18, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Citizenship in two countries

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
C. S. Lewis

I have wondered what it would be like to hold duo citizenship in two different countries.  I know of a few people who do and it is so different than having a homeland and then just passing through another country.  For these people make both countries their home, even if they do not return to the land of their birth.

As the world becomes a darker place to live and the world as we once knew it is leaving us further behind every day, I've been thinking more about our dual citizenship... living here while our true Home is to come.  I always have to remember that it is a real place that exists today, inhabited by Heavenly beings and humanity that has gone before us.

It is knowing of that dual citizenship that bring peace in the midst of turmoil.  As Lewis came to realize, there is no experience in this world that can truly satisfy us.  This world offers us echoes of Eden and little glimpses of Heaven but they tend to pass quickly and we find ourselves longing for that which is missing.

I've experienced a few instances in life when I honestly felt the veil lift, somewhat like walking the thin places of Celtic legends.  The unusual thing about these times is that they did not happen in a cathedral or even while reading my Bible.  They occurred in the midst of the everyday events of my life.

The first time I had such an experience was when walking through a favorite department store, pushing my daughter in her stroller after a well baby checkup.  I had been looking at their display of fine china and was just entering their book department when I had an overwhelming feeling of pure joy and the closeness of God.

The feeling remained as I perused a few nonfiction books about parenting and then pushed the stroller to their tea room for lunch.  It was such a simple experience that would cause me to feel the presence of God but all of these decades later, I can still recall the feeling of peace and joy.

One of the other such experiences came when I was driving our family from Iowa to spend Easter with my in-laws.  The kids were in the backseat, Christopher was probably a toddler.  My husband was asleep in the passenger seat, missing the still sleeping Ohio landscape.

I was listening to the main Moody station out of Chicago as they were broadcasting live on Good Friday from Jerusalem.  All of a sudden,it was once again as if Heaven was near and I felt what it was like to be part of a worldwide Body of Christ. It was just a small taste of what it will be like someday when all the generations of those who believed on His name will come together.

I think it was the realization that God was allowing me to listen to airwaves from Jerusalem to Chicago from a rural section of Ohio Interstate... and how it was all created by Him and for His purpose.  I felt like I was in Jerusalem worshiping among brothers and sisters in Christ.

Of course, the intense feeling didn't last long and I had to pay attention to the cars around me, even though they were few on this stretch of Interstate.  However, just as with the feelings of peace and joy I felt when shopping that day, I have remembered the feeling of that Good Friday decades since that time.

One of the things I love about the writings of C. S. Lewis is that he gave words to my feelings.  I came to realize that such events were gifts from God and while I rarely have those kinds of "thin places" events, there have been many times when I have felt His presence.

I have heard it said that we must walk by faith and not by feelings but as more years pass, I am convinced we need both.  I mean, what would any other relationship be like if we only loved each other by faith?  Either God is real... or He is not.  

I am now at an age that I understand those who have gone before me.  The older saints I knew when I was very young.  I used to wonder at how Heaven seemed so real to them and how they loved to talk about that day when they go to be with Him.

As a young person, there was so much to do and life to live and goals to be conquered.  Until there wasn't.  Been there.  Done that.  It is not all it was hyped up to be.  Oh, we are blessed when we reach those goals that God ordained for us to accomplish.  You know, those things that you were born to accomplish.  The people you would love and care for.  Your influence for Christ in this fallen world.

But there comes a day when the citizenship of this country becomes less desirable than the citizenship that is to come.  That Country which can almost be seen in the distance of time. In the meantime, we all do the best we can with what we have been given.  But knowing what joy is ahead makes the darkness of this world dim in the rear view mirror.

Image:  Beach Cottage


Carolyn said...

Have enjoyed reading your post today as I do everyday. It particularly hit closer to home today. I so agree with what you have said. I do look forward to being heaven bound. What used to be important - the small things - no longer hold importance for me. Age has placed non-essentials in perspective.

Rega Kowalski said...

Thank you for your wisdom and honesty. I have been following you for many, many years and I have learned from you and appreciate you. Please stay healthy and safe.

Deanna Rabe said...

Beautifully said, Brenda!

Anonymous said...

Dear Brenda,

Your Sunday posts are very much appreciated, particularly this Sunday about Two Countries and the future in Heaven. It is a Joy to read all you write. Thank you and please keep writing and reminding us of Pantry Posts and other important matters in family life.

Nita in Southeast Michigan