This past May we were in Ohio visiting family and decided to take a little day trip up to Put-in-Bay, which is an island in Lake Erie. We had a super day, doing all kinds of fun stuff and enjoying some good food along the way.
Near the end of the day, I decided to walk around Perry’s Monument, which is a 350 memorial tower that stands on the island. I took our 3 oldest kids with me and eventually “walking around” led to me wanting to climb the tower. The kids were all for it so I paid the $10 fee and up we went to the top of the tower.
As I expected, it was a gorgeous view. I could see back to the mainland, I could see a bunch of other islands, and we had a perfect view of Put-in-Bay itself. But the sight I was most interested in was that of Pelee Island. Maybe you’ve never heard of Pelee Island before, but it is another much larger island in Lake Erie which is actually situated in Canadian territory. It just so happens to be the southernmost populated point of land in Canada. Just to be sure, I asked a park Ranger if he could tell me which was Pelee Island. He did, and as I looked across probably about 10 miles of waters, it was neat to see my homeland of Canada again.
As I pondered these circumstances, it made me think of Moses near the end of his life, when God told him to climb Mount Nebo, and look out over the land of Canaan. He was not permitted to enter the land, but God allowed him to catch a glimpse of the land God would give to His people (Deuteronomy 32:48-52).
So where am I going with all this?
As Christians, we are a people in motion. We are pilgrims. We are sojourners. This world is not our home. We are, as Peter puts it, “elect exiles” (1 Peter 1:1) and are on a journey to a much better place. If you have been born again to a living hope, then that means in an ultimate sense you are a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20). It doesn’t matter what your passport says, because your true home is in heaven.
As we live our lives, God gives us little glimpses of heaven. He does this to encourage us and sustain us. Sometimes our pilgrimage can be hard. There are times we will experience the “fiery trial” that will test our faith (1 Peter 4:12). But we need to keep in mind that God is using these circumstances to mold us, shape us, and mature us in the faith. Truly, we can rejoice and be glad because God is preparing us for our heavenly home (James 1:2-4, Romans 5:3-5).