Sunday, October 9, 2011

Not of This World

Eleven year old eyes.
Faintly watery.

Bad experience with the neighbors. Again.
This time it was sneaky football rules.
And a basic lack of integrity.
And he was spittin' mad.
So he complained to the woman who would be spittin' mad right along with him. Mom.
As Brett says, "The apple don't fall far from the tree."

The flesh part of me would have liked to go out there and settle everything my way.
Take that football and shove it up their little pagan noses, for instance.
I'll admit it here. Turning the other cheek is not, never has been, easy for me.
But the Holy Spirit took over before I could get my cleats on...

You are not of this world, I reminded him.
You, me, the rest of us in this house...we step outside that door, and we are strangers,
and the world out there looks at us and mocks.
They don't get our standards.
They don't understand our integrity.
They're intimidated by our peace.
To those who are being saved, we are the fragrance of life.
But to those who are perishing, we are the odor of death.
And that's most of them.

The odor of death makes people run.
Whew! What died?!
It's the smell of their own rotting souls.
But we strangers are oblivious to a hopeless life,
A joyless life,
A life without peace.

No, we are not of this world.
We are citizens of heaven.
We are only visiting this earth.
But one day, we'll go home...

There were still angry words
And confessions.
My little apple had returned volley, apparently.
And he was still seething.

They're blind, I reminded him.
They're deaf.
And the only reason you and I are not blind, not deaf,
is because Jesus opened our eyes and our ears,
For no reason other than His own good pleasure.
And unless His own good pleasure leads Him to do the same for them...
they will die in their blindness and deafness.

I sent him away to do business with his Father.

Yusef Nadarkhani, a pastor in Iran is facing imminent execution...
For the high crime of claiming Jesus is Lord.
His country mocks him,
Is threatened by him.
He is not of this world.
He knows it.
They know it.
And they smell the odor of death.
So they want to send him whence he came.

And if they succeed,
He will cross that river.
He will meet his Lord.
And he will know, more than any of us left behind, that to die is gain.
But he will leave behind a family who will mourn him,
A wife and children, who are also likely not of this world
And who must find that to live--as a stranger--is hard.
To live as a stranger often hurts excruciatingly.
But to live as a stranger is Christ.

That evening, we chatted again.
We talked about Nadarkhani and neighbors and nations.
Not of this world can mean a whole spectrum of things.
It can range from mocking, bullying, and intimidation on one side
To torture and death on the other.
This thing you experienced in the street today,
This was nothing.
And it goes with your citizenship.

Tell your kids. Remind yourself.
There is no doubt about it.
Not of this world comes with a price.

But God be praised,
it also comes with a reward.

No comments:

Post a Comment