I Love It Here. I Hate It Here.

 

I love it here.
Because there is a lot to love.
Beautiful scenery.
Fabulous people.
Meaningful work.
I never want to leave.

I hate it here.
There is injustice that runs rampant.
I struggle with communication.
There are people who pluck my last nerve.
And the amount of work to do is completely overwhelming.
I am ready to go home.

Do you think I am talking about Guatemala?
That would make sense.
I am literally living with a foot in two worlds, here and the U.S.
I have people I love in both places.
Obligations in both places.
Joys in both.
And frustrations in both.

But I’m not talking about Guatemala and the U.S.
I mean this world and the one to come.
This earthly life, which C.S. Lewis called “the title page”, and the one to come, the rest of the never-ending story of eternity with God.

I love it here. I love my life.
God has created amazing beauty and intricate details that delight my eyes and my soul.
He has given me people to be “my people”, to love and be loved.
And He has endowed me – and all Christ-followers – with the most meaningful work of all: being mirrors of His reflected glory for a world living in darkness.

But I also hate it here.
I hate sin.
And I hate its results.
Sickness. Death.
Disagreements.
Disappointments.
Bad communication.
Or no communication at all.
Injustice.
Darkness.
Hatred.
Wickedness.
And the list goes on.

This, my friends, is what is known as living between “the now and the not-yet”.
And it is a wonderfully terrible place to be.
Longing for home.
And yet enjoying the good things God has given us here.

Crying out for His justice to reign.
And yet reveling in the personal mercies He lavishes on us daily.

Doing our best to get the job done.
To love God. Love people. And tell them He loves them.
In spite of ourselves and the fact that He left the task with sinners like us.

Living overseas will always highlight this Truth in my life, this sense of living in between two worlds.
Having friends and loved ones scattered across the globe also makes it so real.
I live with my heart in many worlds, tied to many people. There are chunks of my heart, some large and some small, in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Japan, The U.S., Guatemala, Cambodia, Suriname and Germany.

And living with a heart broken in pieces is a tension, a heartache, a never-ending tug.
But it is worth it because it reminds me of the other, more real, more eternal tug that I need to feel every day.
I need to be reminded each day that this world is not my home.
I have not arrived.
I am living between the now and the not-yet.

It is easy to forget that.
To let all that my five senses take in define the words “world” and “real” and “important” instead of letting those words be defined by God.
To let the clocks and timelines of this life feel like all there is.

But this is not real life.
This is not the most important stuff.
I am not made for this world.
I am made for the next.

When I forget that fact, I lose all sense of urgency.
I forget that the people around me NEED me to tell them about the love of Jesus so that they can be with us in eternity.
I forget that all I invest, whether it is time, treasure, or talent, needs to be invested in those things that are eternal, not temporal.
And most of all, I forget to love as He loves.
I forget all that, lose all that, every time I forget that in this life, regardless of my earthly geography, I am a foreigner in a strange land, just passing through.

My time in Guatemala is short in the grand scheme of things.
And my time on this earth is even shorter in light of eternity.
So, what will I do?
Will I live in the tension, remembering to live in the reality of the now and the not-yet?
Or will I let busyness and fun and important tasks and to-do lists cause spiritual amnesia to creep in, causing me to forget all that is important, all that is real, all that is urgent?

It is a day-by-day decision.
I have made the right one most of the day today.
Prayerfully, I will make the right one for even longer tomorrow.
And the day after that.
And so on.

How about you?

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