Feet in Two Realms

The Christian’s eternal realm is pictured in chapter 21 of John’s Revelation. Most precious to me is the assurance that “…those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children” (v.7). I should be longing for that every day I live in this earthly realm. So, why don’t I?

It would be easy if Christ returned for us tomorrow. Barring that, I dread the process. I fear the hard transition from this life, through death, to life in heaven. We’ve all journeyed with friends and loved ones through that hard transition. We have days marked on our mental calendars of our losses one year ago, or ten years ago, or twenty. We remember these losses all too well. We don’t want any more of that—not for our loved ones, not for ourselves.

My mother, who went home to the Lord a year ago after a brief illness, lived in the present. She had a very strong faith, yet she expressed then that she was “not ready to go.” Oh, she was ready to meet the Lord, but at 93, she was still loving this life. She still hosted every special family occasion and worked diligently on projects that spelled love for others. She was constantly and skillfully knitting. In fact, her four most recent great-grandchildren, born after her passing, were all blessed with blankets she had knitted with love.

It was hard to see mom go. We grieve still, yet not “as those who have no hope” (1 Thess 4:13). We know the day is coming when our faith shall be sight—when Revelation 21 is true for us. That day has come for my mom.

I have been wrestling with this much more since my brain tumor diagnosis last August. Depending on how difficult or how easy my medical treatments and my physical health are, my longing for the eternal realm of Revelation 21 feels stronger or weaker. I think it works like this: The greater our pain and struggle, the more we long to take that step to be with Jesus. When our health issues or other life struggles become lighter, we’d rather stay here.
This is not a cause for guilt; it’s just the reality that all God’s children always stand in two realms, one foot on earth and one foot in heaven.

Paul wrote of this to the Philippians: “…to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Confessing that he was torn between the two realms, Paul concluded, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (1:21,23). Few of us can say that as wholeheartedly as Paul. As we stand with our feet in the two realms today, we understand that it’s only one step forward into our Father’s eternal realm. And when he calls us to take that step, we’ll do so with great joy!

Rev. Brent Juliot is Contributing Editor of F&F magazine and Pastor of Living Hope Church in Menomonie, Wisconsin.

No Comments