The email from a friend of forty years was prompted by his just finding out that another long time friend was diagnosed with cancer and the future was clouded at best. Things change when we realize our time is short. Oh, I know we cavalierly say that we're all terminal; it's just a matter of when we die not if. Yet, bravado usually is short lived when the real end is near.
As believers in an Almighty God, we mentally, sometimes verbally, and even on rare occasions, orally acknowledge the faith we confidently hope to see His face in heaven as promised in Revelation 22:4.
Yet we live our lives as if our earthly existence is the only place we'll ever live. We are supposed to be in the world but not of the world. As followers of the Messiah, we are to be different, with our focus on heaven. Not on a car, a job, or a house in the "good" neighborhood.
I am reminded of the words Albert Brumley penned in 1937:
This world is not my home, I'm just 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.
The images of being pilgrims, strangers, wanderers in this world are in both the Old and New Testaments. That the journey is not complete until we are with Jehovah Raffa as described in Revelation 21. So what about the here and now? How do we exist on this side of Heaven? The words of Jesus reverberate through the centuries:
I have given them Your Word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one (John 17:14-15).