“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.”
You’ve probably heard this verse a million times – whether or not you go to church! The Lord’s Prayer popped up in my inbox this morning as part of a pre-Easter devotional, and it fits perfectly with what I want to write about today. Where does your mind go when you hear those words? I’m guessing it goes to the word “Heaven.” Jesus is the speaker, after all, and he came to bridge the gap between earth and Heaven.
But what about the word “earth?”
Jesus’ model prayer doesn’t say “Get me off earth as soon as possible! I’ll do Your will in Heaven!” No. His prayer assumes we’re praying on earth.
I’m glad to be on earth.
Why would I possibly say that? I’ve been showering in the dark for the past five weeks so the bathroom light won’t trigger me. Having a seizure in the shower is…well…”dangerous” to put it nicely. I’ve spent most of the past five weeks with other lights dimmed, too. I spent most of the past evening in bed with a blanket over my head–the lightning from that thunder storm last night was not my friend! If I can’t wait to get to Stanford, I most certainly can’t wait to get to Heaven.
But if I can’t wait for Heaven, then why am I so glad to be on earth?
I’m glad because when God created the world, He said it was “very good.” Sin ruined the world just like it ruined human beings, but humans beings are still beautiful. I believe the world is still beautiful, too. Look at all the traces of God’s beauty that remain! The solar system, the Grand Canyon, even the grassy little dog park down the street – they all wear remnants of their Maker. I think God wants us to value what’s left of the world He wanted for us. The world matters so much to Him that He’s even putting a renewed version in Heaven for us to enjoy! If the world were only an unnecessary planetary mess, God would whisk us away to Heaven the moment we accepted Christ as our savior. But He doesn’t whisk us away. He leaves us here for a while. He wants us here for a while.
If I’m honest, this world can still feel like an unnecessary planetary mess even if it’s not one. From the tragedy in Ethiopia over the weekend, to the conflict over nuclear weapons, to something as trivial as my head-in-blanket moment last night, “broken” doesn’t scratch the surface of all that’s wrong with the big and the small. But God still calls His broken people beautiful, and I think He calls His broken world beautiful, too.
That’s what I want to say today. I love being alive. I love experiencing the world God constructed for his creatures. My body is broken and our world is broken, but I would still miss so much beauty and joy if I simply “scene selected” straight to Heaven. You’d be surprised how charming a sunny day can be, even if you’re just peeking around closed blinds! God wanted us to be physical creatures as well as spiritual beings. Even Jesus Himself had to take human form in order to redeem our souls.
I can’t wait to get to Heaven. I hope we all can say that! But I think embracing our human-ness involves loving our time on earth as well as anticipating our time in Heaven. Let’s stay present in every moment God’s designed for us. His plan for eternity is that our new selves will worship Him on a new earth just as fully as we will worship Him in Heaven.
Earth is beautiful, too.