The Best of Both Worlds
I was off that day for a trek to the city and ‘twas a grand Adventure. It was now three months since my foot had been operated. So I hobbled less; walked more. Clambering onto buses was challenging but finally possible. Hooray! The ride to the city refreshed me. Praise music resounding in my ears, I drank in the vista of green trees dancing in sunlit glades; chatty, gurgling streams making glad music. As I praised God for His creation, I was renewed –a toddler energized after a good night’s sleep. Soon, I reached my bus stop in North Terrace and I eagerly made my way to Bonython Hall.
My beautiful young Sri Lankan friend Chehara was receiving her Masters degree that day. Her charming Iraqi friend Nadine was at hand to greet me. Bonython Hall was a vast ornate chamber, numerous small glass windows spanning the length of the hall; high elaborate ceilings, resplendent wooden paneling around. Grand. The hall was packed with excited family and friends of the day’s new graduates. 273 students of the University of Adelaide were awarded their degrees. As each graduate went up for their award I prayed for them. I prayed that these 273 young people would have the opportunity of knowing Jesus; that they’d live lives full and authentic through Him. Nadine and I cheered Chehara as she went up to receive her certificate; our cameras clicked feverishly. It was a joyful occasion.
Afterwards, we took more pictures outdoors then made our way to a hall where the two girls disappeared to get professional pictures taken. I sat in a corner of the large auditorium fascinated by my surroundings. Students sat around tables – lunching; chatting; studying. The high fiber glass ceiling made it feel special– like an enormous habitable greenhouse. There was a noisy hum of happy conversation.
I loved seeing the array of fresh young faces – many international students among them. I relished the fact that this was a place of learning. I felt so good sitting there. I pretended for a little while that I was a student at the University. In fact, I almost envied the students. But then… on deeper reflection I realised of course that these students might not feel as enthusiastic as I did. It was easy for me to wish I was one as I sat there. But I wasn’t weighed down by work and studies as they would be. If I had four assignments to hand in the next few days, a never ending pile of reading to get through and insufficient sleep most nights –I probably wouldn’t feel half as eager. I might instead be weighed down; a pack mule walking the desert sands; straining to be free.
Yes, their perspective would almost certainly be different to mine. For a little while longer, I continued to revel in the fantasy that I was a student. I thought to myself then that I was enjoying the best of both worlds. I was ‘a student’ (in my imagination) – but also revelling in the joy and freedom and abandon of NOT being one. No assignments. No lectures. No pressure. No stress. The happiest kind of student.
We disciples of Jesus also live in two worlds – right here on earth but also in ‘another world’. We are free to enjoy the best of both worlds. We can delight in the beauty of Creation. We can enjoy nurturing relationships with God and with one another. We can create, work and play. But there’s more. When tough seasons arise we do have a unique perspective on life. Because of course we have eternity’s perspective. We who know Jesus don’t have to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. We have a God who cares for us. Who will help us during our difficult times. Richard Foster says in his book ‘Celebration of Discipline’ that “we are called to a perpetual Jubilee of the Spirit.”
Here then are some ways God might ask me to enjoy the best of both worlds:
Live fully engaged in the present.
Trust Him implicitly. Every day. Every hour. Every moment.
Be joyful – not just when life is good but always.
Look beyond my circumstances into the loving face of Jesus.
Love extravagantly. Forgive freely. Share graciously.
Seek Justice. Show Mercy. Walk humbly with my God.
Delight in God's presence; enjoy the beauty of His Creation.
Worship. Pray. Praise. Give thanks. Constantly.
View God’s Hand in all of life - the good, the bad and the ugly.
Celebrate Life – soak in fields of Grace.
Life sometimes overwhelms me. I have to confess that many times I have failed to live in the present. I give into despair; I forget to dance in the rain. The good news though is that every day is a new day. I can decide to live from this moment on, enjoying the best of both worlds. Dancing in sunshine but also dancing in the rain. Knowing with full assurance that He who holds eternity also holds me in the palm of His Hand.
Come; join me as we delight in the best of Both Worlds!
“For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:18-20
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10