Earth is just a rest stop

When was the last time you were at a rest stop somewhere on a road trip. My family has taken so many road trips over the years, so rest areas are just a normal part of travel. And it’s true, some rest areas (the newer ones) are very comfortable. They have gift shops or information booths staffed with actual people. But here in Kansas, the rest areas aren’t always that nice. Most of the time, there’s just one main building that has restrooms and some overpriced vending machines.

Sure, it would be nice if they were all climate controlled. And it would be even better if the toilets were real, rather than chemical jobs. But it’s just a rest stop. It’s a place to get out of the car for a little bit, but you don’t stay there. You get back in the car and keep on going.

Have you ever thought about how similar that is to the lives we’re living today?

rest_areaToday’s verse is Hebrews 13:14.

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.

It’s easy to get caught up in this life because it’s right in front of us. We live it every day, and we experience the troubles that come at us on a regular basis. And it’s tempting to think that this is the way it’s always going to be.

But it’s not. Because Earth is just a rest stop. We’re not sticking around for much longer. Rest stops aren’t designed to be comfortable because you’re not staying there permanently. Like the old song says, “This world isn’t my home. I’m just a’passing through.”

So what does that mean for us? How does that help us get through a difficult day or face an unpleasant situation?

Well, it helps because we remember that this life isn’t all there is. If you follow Christ, you’ve got a much better life coming after this one is over. This little insignificant life on Earth is just the beginning of your eternity, and it’s not even a very good beginning because we can’t experience all the awesome that God has in store for us. So on those difficult days, remember that there’s more to this life than what you can see.

If a rest stop was really comfortable, it would be awfully hard to get back into the car, wouldn’t it? What if they had a coffee bar? What if they had free cookies? What if they offered unlimited tacos? I mean, you could just hole up in the rest area station for the rest of your life and get along just fine, right? Because who wants to get back in that car and keep driving when you can sit around and eat free tacos?

You don’t know what the road ahead holds for you. It might be difficult. It might be worse than your situation is right now. And wouldn’t it just be better to stay put and enjoy the comforts of your luxurious rest stop?

That’s an exaggeration, of course. Although I’ve been to some rest areas that I wouldn’t mind sticking around a bit longer. It usually had to do with the ready availability of ice cream. But on the other hand, I’ve been to some rest areas that I couldn’t wait to leave. They were dirty and broken, and I just wanted to be done with them and leave. And sometimes I wonder if that’s how we’re supposed to see the world.

We need to be here, though. God put us here for a reason, so we need to accept that. But that doesn’t mean we need to get comfortable here. And that absolutely doesn’t mean we need to wish that it would become more comfortable for us. It won’t. What it should make us do is long for our true home more desperately than ever before.

When was the last time you yearned for heaven? Have you ever? Makes you wonder where your priorities are, doesn’t it?

So don’t long for easier times. Don’t wish for smooth sailing. I mean, you can. There’s nothing wrong with that, and there’s nothing wrong with asking for it either. Bet don’t be surprised if you don’t get it, and don’t get it in your head that God is mean. He’s just trying to help us understand that Earth is little more than a rest area on the great adventure we’re on with Him.

 

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There’s something better on the other side

The light in my upstairs landing burned out a few months ago. A burned out light bulb in the city is one thing. The ambient light from outside often illuminates the inside of a house enough to see by, but out here in the country? Everything is always pitch black, until there’s a full moon.

Burned out light bulbs have always been interesting to me because they don’t look much different from a new light bulb. At least with the old incandescent bulbs, you could shake them to hear if the filament was dislodged. But with the new curlicue bulbs, I haven’t figured out how to look at one and determine if it works or not.

They look like they should work just fine, but when you actually try to use them, they’re broken.

bulbToday’s verse is Hebrews 13:14.

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.

Have you ever realized how broken our world is? Maybe it looks fine on the outside, but in practical use, nothing works the way it’s supposed to? It’s one thing to know it. It’s something else to experience it, to watch your friends experience it, to see the pain and the suffering it causes.

Just turn on the television. Just listen to the radio. Spend an hour talking to someone at work or at school or at church. Everybody’s broken, but the world is more broken than any of us.

It’s so sad because God designed this world to function in a certain way. He put processes and rules and laws in place when He created it, and while all of those processes and rules and laws are still working, they have to use pieces that are falling apart.

It’s like our own lives, our relationships. Two perfect people would never find themselves on opposite sides. They’d always understand what the other was saying, and they’d never try to hurt each other. But nobody’s perfect. So in this world, our friendships and relationships of all kinds have to be built with imperfect materials.

We’re all insecure. We’re all afraid. We’re all jealous. How do you build a lasting relationship when the base materials you have to use are only good for tearing things apart? Maybe you could build a beautiful home with a horrible foundation, and maybe it will look perfect–but the first storm that comes along will bring it crashing down because it doesn’t work. It was broken from the start.

There are days when I know God can fix anything. There are moments when I believe that God is the restorer and can mend hearts and relationships and families and friendships. And I don’t doubt that. I’ve never doubted that. And I’ve seen Him do miracles more than once.

But is our world really worth fixing? Have you really thought about that? I mean, it would be wonderful if He did, but if you read Scripture, you understand that the way everything is falling apart isn’t a surprise. If you know the Bible, you know this global rebellion against God was coming. Maybe it’s not what God wanted for us, but it’s what has to happen before He can come back.

It’s so tempting to get attached to our lives here because they feel real. The taste of the coffee in my cup, the feel of the sunshine on my face in my upstairs office window, the smell of the apricots blossoming in the orchard. But it’s not real–not by God’s definition. It will all pass away in the end, and if I’m not invested in the things that are real, I’ll have nothing.

This world where we live isn’t our permanent home. It’s nobody’s permanent home. We will all live somewhere in eternity, but there are only two choices. And if you don’t choose one, that means you’re automatically choosing the other.

Jesus is real. Faith is real. Love is real. And the souls of the people around you are real. That’s what you should be investing in. You can spend all your money and all your time working to achieve a status or a goal the world says is admirable, but if God doesn’t say it’s worth it, it’s not.

Don’t get caught up in living in this world. Christ-follower or not, you’re not long for it. Not in comparison to forever.

But don’t be discouraged either. Our world is broken. People are broken. We’re all falling apart physically, emotionally, mentally. Nothing works the way it was supposed to, but that’s because this world isn’t our home. There’s something better on the other side, and that’s worth believing in.