…as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.
II Corinthians 5:6-9
This summer, whenever anyone asked me what I was looking forward to most about going home to the States, I usually said “Corn on the cob and blueberries.” We don’t get sweet corn here, only canned corn [good enough but not the same] and grilled street corn [which is neither sweet or soft]. The only blueberries are found in Bonne Mamman jam [for which I’m very grateful].
And so I loved having corn almost every night, and blueberries for breakfast and lunch. I never got tired of them.
Then I came back and had this:
I thought the same thing as when I had my first wonderful bite of corn: “I’m home again.” Although it’s possible to get fresh-squeezed orange juice in New England it’s very expensive [about 50 cents a swallow] and it doesn’t taste as freshly delicious as what I make here. And yes, in the states I can buy a little box of instant couscous but it doesn’t come close to what Zohara makes. So now I’m in a difficult spot. Blueberries or fresh-squeezed orange juice? Zohara’s couscous or corn on the cob? I can have one, but I can’t have them both at the same time. [Thankfully excellent chocolate is available in both places.]
I once read that people who move to another country eventually get to the point where they are never completely content except when they are traveling in between the two places. No matter how much they enjoy their current home, they yearn for what they left behind– until they go there and immediately start missing the delights of the other place. After ten years, I think I’ve reached that state. My ideal home would be a combination of the two. I do my best with my suitcase stuffed with cranraisins and maple syrup and wheat thins and taco seasoning and lots of brown sugar. But blueberries don’t travel well.
Paul had a similar problem of wanting to be in two places at the same time but for him it wasn’t Jerusalem and Ephesus [or Antioch or Corinth]. He was torn between wanting to be with Christ in heaven and wanting to continue working on earth.
That’s not often true for me. Most days I think life on earth is pretty good, like watching Lucy play in the water at Walden Pond and then eating corn on the cob with my family. That’s when I’ll think, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” It’s hard to believe that anything could surpass the joy and pleasure I’m experiencing.
I do occasionally get sips of heaven’s fresh-squeezed orange juice, glimpses of the joy I’ll have when I go to be with God forever in a place where there will be no more crying or tears or death or pain (Revelation 21:4). But most of the time I can’t conceive of the delights waiting for me then or how they will improve upon the blueberries and corn and orange juice and couscous I’m enjoying now.
But I once thought boxed orange juice was the best orange juice could be. I had no idea it could taste so much better until I moved here. And now that I’ve tasted the real thing, I find myself passing by boxed orange juice when I’m in the states. I look at a glass and wonder how I ever thought it was delicious. I’m no longer interested in drinking a slight approximation of sweet fresh-squeezed orange juice. I think the same thing will happen when I get to heaven. I’ll be amazed at how much better it is.
When perfection comes, the imperfect disappears…Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. I Corinthians 13: 12