A Better Country
I’m often tempted to believe life would be better in a different country, or maybe just in a different time. The rugged frontier of the West with its promise of adventure or the simple life of plowing the soil alluring me with its freedom from distraction. No tweets to endlessly scroll through, or emails to sort, or latest gadgets to pine over. Information is so ubiquitous, and yet I feel perpetually uninformed – the question now is not if you can get the information, but can you get the right information. Even with the right information I often passively digest it rather than act on it.
Give and Take
Of course, every place and every time has its own challenges. Our access to medicine, food, and transportation is unfathomable compared to 100 years ago. I don’t get up before sunrise to milk the cow because there is a gallon sitting in my refrigerator. I don’t have to gather sticks to build a fire to warm my home or fear my government will imprison me for my beliefs. And yet, with all this apparent wealth and freedom, I’m poor in so many things. I want for so little that I think I’m often poor in gratitude. The same technology that allows me to Facetime with my family from hundreds of miles away often hinders my relationships when I’m staring at a screen instead of talking with my wife or playing with my son in the same room.
Longing for my Home
Truly, there is nothing new under the sun. In the end, nothing in this world will really satisfy. It will always leave us asking for more because it was never meant to be an end to itself. That is why the author of Hebrews said that the heroes of faith were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. So many great people throughout history longed to see a better country, a better world, and died without watching it come to fruition. Martin Luther King Jr fought ferociously for equal rights, suffering and dying for his beliefs, dying before they came to be. Dietrich Bonhoeffer fought against the Nazis to stand up for justice and help the oppressed, being martyred for his cause. Abraham left his family, his home, his country with the promise of being a father of many nations. He didn’t receive the promise in his lifetime, but he had his gaze fixed on a life beyond this one.
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar… But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.
-Hebrews 11:13,16 (ESV)
The truly better country lies beyond this life because it is not subject to decay or prey to disease or fraught with heartache. If I could yearn for and live for this better country, I think I might have a chance at living well and making a difference in this small patch of dirt I’ve been given here in this life.
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