“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13 ESV)
“And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,” (1 Peter 1:17 ESV)
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.” (1 Peter 2:11 ESV)
It was cold this morning and I didn’t want to get out of bed where the electric blanket and the cat had kept me warm all night.
Still, I had to take T to work so I rose and got ready to go.
I went to warm up the truck…and the heater fan ceased to function.
It’s going to be a cold winter…
This made me angry at God as I already had a list of broken things I can’t afford to fix…but at least I’d been warm.
It was the last straw when I already had a bale of last straws.
If God were good, if God loved me, if God heard prayer, then surely all these things would be made better.
Then I remembered that life in exile is rarely comfortable.
I would submit that the truth that we are living as aliens and exiles in a country not our own is the least understood, least preached about, and least popular concept in Western Christendom.
The truth that the kingdom is here, but not yet, that taste of what will be, drives us to attempt to make our place of exile our real home.
It compels us to pretend that we can forgo living as exiles because we can convert where God has placed us into the place where God has us going.
In doing so we compromise our purpose and lose our true identity.
The kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world are in conflict and that conflict will not be resolved until our kingdom has come in its fullness.
Following Jesus will always put you at odds with earthly powers.
““Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34–39 ESV)
You will rarely be comfortable…and you may die waiting for the promises to be fulfilled.
They are still true.