“I’m just a poor wayfaring stranger I’m traveling through this world of woe. Yet there’s no sickness, toil nor danger In that bright land to which I go.” This is my favorite song. It beautifully shows both the pain of living in this broken world, but focuses on the hope that we have as we look forward to in the next. As Christians, we know that when Christ finally returns that he will make all things right. There will be no sickness, toil or danger when he comes and makes this earth new.
When he comes, he will bring the perfected kingdom of God to this earth. His righteousness, justice, love and mercy will consume us, for, “God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3 NIV) In that day, those who persevere as strangers in this world, will be rewarded with the crown of life.
Until that time though, we are faced with the pain of this life. I have friend, Sarah, who is six years old. She is a very pretty little girl that likes to play with toys, hear stories and loves pretending to be a princess. The college group from church meets at her family’s house for Bible study. One of my good friends shared with the group some of his experiences with the military that he was having to work through.
Just one of his memories was talking with a guy who was known as tough, even for a Marine. He was about to get out of the military. When asked what he was looking forward to, he said that he couldn’t wait to spend time with his daughters. Two hours later he was dead and laying in a pool of his own blood as a new medic desperately kept trying to work on him.
Several of us were crying. We were overhearing the pain and difficulties of a brother working through the same broken world we lived in. He just had a more intimate acquaintance.
In the corner, Abigail was also crying. But she was crying for a different reason. She had a pad of pink princess paper on which she was drawing. However, she lamented, “I am crying because my drawings, my drawings are broken.”
My military friend was on one side of the room sharing the horrific evil incidents that are here in the broken world. Abigail was sharing how even our attempts at beauty are still somehow, broken.
As we wander through this land of woe, we are faced with all kinds of brokenness. But we have a brokenness tempered by hope. Hope that one day all will be made right fully and perfectly, just as Christ has begun making life right today. He has brought us forgiveness, and shown us how to live rightly before God here on earth. Because of him, we now make our lives reflections of his perfection. We form and temper our lives after Christ so that we may attain the crown of life.
As we follow, we reflect the perfect crown as we craft our own earthly crowns here and now. Not flawless, but ones redeemed by the perfect one. Despite all the pain, imperfections, and heart ache, we are called forward. We strive and fight to be like Christ as we forge broken crowns.