The Pittsburgh Penguins are once again in the race to the Stanley Cup finals. Round 3 begins in two days, against the Boston Bruins. But there were some hairy moments in the first series against the Islanders, when the diehard fans weren’t sure our beloved Pens would even move on. Thankfully, their time was not yet up, and they are still battling their way to victory. It goes to show, you never really know when your time is up.
I believe there are times in nearly every Christian’s life when he or she is fed up, exhausted or troubled by the world, to the point of wanting to just give it all up and get to Heaven now. For anyone who keeps up with contemporary Christian music, you may know the great song, “Where I Belong” by Building 429. I think specifically of the chorus:
All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong
Or how about the old hymn, “This World is Not My Home,” which reminds us:
This world is not my home,
I’m just a-passing through,
My treasures are laid up
somewhere beyond the blue;
The angels beckon me
from heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home
in this world anymore.
I love these songs as much as anyone and it’s easy to understand the sentiment. Sometimes there is more focus on anger, strife and hatred in the world than there is on love and God’s promises. In fact, the author of Hebrews declared the same thing about people of faith, “they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.”
One Sunday, while listening again to a familiar story of Paul raising a person from the dead, a new realization struck me, and the more I thought about it the truer it seemed. There are so many times in the Bible when someone was brought back from the dead. The New Testament alone contains several stories of this phenomenon. Matthew chapter 9 gives one account of Jesus restoring the life of Jairus’ daughter. In John 11 he raised Lazarus, who had been dead for four days. Luke 7 tells how Jesus raised the widow’s son from the dead. In Acts 20, Paul restores the life of a young man who fell to his death from a window. Acts 9 recounts how Dorcas was raised to life days after she passed.
The realization I had was this: what if there was more than one reason for these miracles? Jesus stated that Lazarus must be raised from the dead in order that God would be glorified – this is answer enough, as we know that God is deserving of all of our praise. But what if these people whose lives were cut short simply weren’t finished with the work God had in mind for them on this earth?
It is easy and understandable to wish our troubles away, and look forward to Heaven. But the truth is, until our last breath, we are here to serve the Lord, through all life’s trials. While we may be pilgrims, we are still on a journey.