Friday, May 13, 2011

Between Emancipation and Glory

--
Are we THERE yet?

The universal refrain of children on their way somewhere far away. Mile after mile, the wheels turn and turn and turn, but to them the destination still seems so far off.


Yes Lord. Some days it feels a little like that.

For now anyway, we live in the uncharted territory between the excitement of getting on the road and the thrill of getting to our destination. There's no telling what lies between.

In the ordinariness of daily days (even good days), there is a slow grind of feeling never quite on top of everything, and knowing there's still a long way to go, a person can get a little weary sometimes. Obstacles, real and perceived, from outside sources and from within, can make it feel like you're getting nowhere fast. You can start fussing and worrying over bumps in the road you didn't anticipate, the funky looks you get from other travelers, and a thousand little burrs under your saddle that chafe and rub your nerves to an exaggerated frazzle (yes, I know I'm mixing metaphors but nothing is more descriptive than a burr under your saddle!).

It can feel like too long in the wilderness with the Promised Land forever away.

At a pivotal point in the life of God's people, they found themselves in the wilderness of the Sinai Desert, having left everything of Egypt behind . . . everything but God and new freedom and each other as they followed Moses, victoriously, miraculously away from Egypt's slavery. They were on their way to the land of God's Promise, and they couldn't wait to get there!  They weren't quite as enthused about the part in between the spectacular departure and the much-anticipated arrival, the tedious, long, trying space between leaving Egypt and arriving HOME. 

Behind them lay slavery, oppression, hardship and the helplessness of being owned by someone else. Ahead of them was a land they had never seen that sounded too good to be true. Here they were, caught between emancipation and the glorious promised land and there were a lot of dusty days and chilly nights before they would realize the full joy of God's promised blessing. Only the manna God rained down from heaven sustained them.

 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. . . . 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” John 6:35a, 58 NIV

We like to think we're so much more spiritual than those often grumbling children of Israel, but we are an awful lot like them. As believers we are set free from being slaves to sin, and we walk out of our old Egypt-lives, leaving behind everything but God and new freedom and each other, to follow Christ in a victory march toward the ultimate glory He has won for us! The trip isn't always easy and the path isn't always smooth, but just like His children in the desert, He has promised to take care of us.

Jesus is the true manna from heaven, our forever bread. 
He is the sustanance of our eternal life which began at our rebirth. He is the reason we can live victoriously in the wide dusty space between Egypt and Home, the earth-time "now" between emancipation and glory.

Wanna know a secret? It's not really a secret, but sometimes we act like no one has told us yet, so let me whisper it in your ear,

GLORY STARTS NOW!  Pass it on!!

I love the fact that Jesus didn't go straight from the grave to Heaven, but He walked and talked and shared meals with His friends in the space between His resurrection and His ascension. He gave us a taste of His risen life, not yet fully glorified, but showing us what life-that-conquered-death looks like! "Oh what a foretaste of glory divine!"

Resurrection life, the life beyond the earth-bound, the life that pursues the heavenly, is only sustained and nourished and enabled to thrive when we know Jesus, our Manna, daily, ravenously, faithfully.

So, no, we're not there yet, but we're on our way.

We may have a ways to go before we reach the full glory of Heaven, but the foretaste is pretty darn sweet!


Do you ever get bogged down in the ordinary?
What are some of the ways you live out the foretaste of glory here and now?
_______________________

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