Friday, March 27, 2015

A Perfect Place .............. Parables 253

(February 6, 1991)

When I was a child, I remember hearing some rather negative remarks about the province of Saskatchewan. The first trip through left little memory. The next time, all I can recall were three-inch grasshoppers darkening the sky and plastering themselves on the grill of my car. Nevertheless, when we decided to move here, I decided to be positive about living in Saskatchewan.

It always helps to balance the negative by looking for good. Here, the flat, barren prairies are offset by immense clear skies. Trees are scarce, but the landscape is painted in unforgettable, soul-restoring pastel colors.

Someone asked about those Saskatchewan drivers...? To be sure, there are a few who forget there is more traffic on the highway than the country roads they usually travel, yet we adjust by slowing down ourselves. Actually, that is a bit easier than going back to Alberta for a weekend and finding it necessary to re-adjust to high speeds! Another smaller adjustment regards the lack of daylight saving time in Saskatchewan. We learned to rationalize: one more hour of sunshine would only keep us up too late.

On a more personal vein, we sometimes encounter ideas different from our own. For instance, Moose Jaw once had a bylaw that told people they had to walk up one side of the street only, and down the other. At that, we simply chuckle along with the rest of Moose Jaw citizens who are glad it didn’t last.

After 25 moves, we have learned that no place is perfect. California has a great climate but it also boasts a horrendous crime rate. Alaska is unmatched for beauty but the cost of living in the north is exorbitant. Illinois is full of friendly people but the unfriendly folk in some parts of Chicago are downright dangerous. And even though Saskatchewan is not perfect, imagine our misery if we spent all our days in Moose Jaw wanting to be back in Alberta, or California, or some other imperfect place!

I know I am an idealist with a longing for perfection. It could be a deep yearning in the human soul to return to Eden where life was wonderful, the climate perfect, humans were innocent from sin, and full, pure fellowship with God was possible. That would be wonderful. We try to turn our clocks back (if farmers don’t vote against it) but even then, time marches on regardless of what the clock says.

No, perfection is not for this life. However, the Christian does have hope in a perfect place. Jesus, just before He left the imperfection here, said “...I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” Of course He was talking about heaven. There He will “wipe away our tears and there will be no more pain.” He says that we cannot imagine what it will be like, so His Word paints rich pictures of streets paved with transparent gold and walls and gates made of precious jewels.

Some days the world seems particularly ugly and repulsive so heaven sounds especially appealing. But it also is our hope when all goes reasonably well. For that reason, Christians feel any location in this world is not quite right, we are in a foreign place, no matter what. We haven’t seen our real home yet, but we cannot, even should not, be too comfortable here.

Moose Jaw is okay, so is Simi Valley or Calgary, Bolingbrook or Kenai, Calgary or Medicine Hat, or any other place, but none of them compare with the prospects of being with Jesus Christ in the place that He is presently preparing. I’m convinced that none of us will have to try and balance negatives with positives there.

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