In the past six months, areas of California, Oregon, Montana, and western Canada were consumed by flames. Houston was underwater, Idaho and Mexico experienced strong earthquakes, and North Korea tested nuclear bombs. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria devastated anything in their path.
Then there are personal crises we’re all dealing with. Prodigal children. Health issues. Financial pressures. Broken relationships.
I. Can’t. Keep. Up.
And I don’t want to try.
It’s emotionally draining to read or listen to the news. To know what the people I care about are struggling with. And my heart aches to see the multiplied needs arriving with increasing speed and intensity.
How can we make sense of all these tragedies and struggles? Can anyone make sense of it all? If there was ever a reasonable time to feel anxious, this is it…at least that’s how a growing number of Americans seem to be responding. According to a recent study, an estimated 8.3 million American adults — about 3.4 percent of the U.S. population — suffer from serious psychological distress.
But there’s a better way to respond, and it has to do with citizenship.
No, not the immigration debates creating turmoil in Washington. A different kind of citizenship. A dual one that shapes our perspective on all the events swirling around us, both personal, local, international, and eternal.
Someone once said this world is really just a glorious bus station. Have you ever waited for a long-distance bus? People mill about or sit on benches, with their luggage close by. You won’t see them unpack their suitcases, hang up their clothes, and arrange their toiletries inside the station.
Instead, they’re prepared to board as soon as the bus arrives. They’re not focused on where they’ve been, but rather on where they’re going, who will meet them, and what they’ll do when they get there.
The Bible tells us Christians have an eternal perspective. Our citizenship is in heaven. To paraphrase an old hymn, we’re just passin’ through this world.
I’m an American and proud of it. But I also have a dual citizenship. Here and there. Now and then. Temporary and eternal.
Sadly, while I know this is true, I don’t always live as if it’s true.
I can become so attached to the things of this world that I forget that this world and all that’s in it is temporary. The one Abraham looked forward to, as the writer of the book of Hebrews described it:
“Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations,
a city designed and built by God.”
~ Hebrews 11:10 (NLT)
Do I care about the events occurring in the world around me? The things happening to the people I love? Of course I do. I want to help. To encourage. To love others both emotionally and in practical ways.
At the same time, I know I’ve been restored to my heavenly Father through the gift of salvation found in His Son, Jesus. So, while the events of this life and this world are disturbing, I have an eternal perspective. I know this world is a just a glorified bus station—a temporary stop on the way to the destination of my eternal citizenship.
How about you? Do you have dual citizenship?