pilgrimage

by Elizabeth de Barros

Realize it or not, we live between times, between this world and the one to come.

As a Christian, knowing this brings great solace. It lifts my eyes to something larger, raises hope and oxygen levels. This epic backdrop renders a certain patina to everything of both shimmer and rust, while my groanings testify to a heavenly abode.

But life has a way of snagging us and carrying us across the waters until we’re too weak and bloodied to keep up the fight. We’re done. Finished. Cooked. About to become someone else’s dinner.

This is when a Biblical perspective helps.

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As a Christian, I live between law and gospel. In other words, I need the hard back of the law to push me into the redemptive arms of the gospel. Every day. If I take the Savior for granted, I nullify His message. But if I remain contrite, my sin is ever before me, and the gospel is no longer fuzzy. The Good News is good and new all over again, just as it was the day I was first cleansed.

I live between Eden and Gethsemane, but I’m on my way to Jerusalem, the gateway to Mount Zion; land of my inheritance.

I live between shock and awe. Shock at my depravity and moral bankruptcy; awe at His merciful provision for same.

I live between the friendlessness of the world and the friendship of God. It’s lonely sometimes, but He is equal to none when it comes to knowing me and loving me anyway.

I live between joy and sorrow. Joy because I belong to my Father in heaven, sorrow because His Name is constantly blasphemed.

I live between flesh and spirit. Daily I struggle against sin, but I overcome by His blood and an Ephesians 1: 19-21 kind of power.

I live between two hopes — the hope of Heaven and the hope of becoming more and more like Him. Whatever the way, I go from strength to strength and glory to glory.

I live between this world and the one that is to come. I despise Vanity Fair for all it’s noise and empty air, but when I run out of milk or need new shoes, I’m grateful I can jump in my car and buy them. I also enjoy a candlelit meal with my husband and a decaf latte with a friend now and then. As for cashmere and Italian leather, well, frankly, there’s no substitute. But my official citizenship is in heaven; the place of true riches.

My heart is set on pilgrimage. When the tension is unbearable, He brings refreshing.

And why Psalm 84 is the tune of my hum in between the singing of Amen and Amen.

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