Why Life Is Like Illinois

Imagine a rich uncle just died and left you his huge estate. This amazing house is out west, nestled in a beautiful mountain valley overlooking a lake. It has everything you’ve ever dreamed of and a lot more. A lawyer contacts you and explains that it’s all out there waiting for you whenever you arrive.

But to get there, you have to drive through Illinois. It’s flat, it’s boring, it’s nothing at all like the place you’re heading. But there’s no way around it. You have to go through Illinois to get to your destination.

So you decide to make the best of it. As long as you have to spend time in Illinois, you might as well enjoy yourself. You stop along the way to eat at nice restaurants, visit some interesting sights and visit a few friends. You know that none of it begins to compare with where you’re going, but knowing that somewhere better is up ahead makes the trip more enjoyable. Maybe you even make a list of things to see and do along the way. I know I would.

And why not?

It has occurred to me lately that my life is a lot like that. My Father in Heaven has made me His heir. He’s got an inheritance waiting for me far better than the best that this life has to offer. I’m told the place is free from pain and sorrow and made for my enjoyment. I don’t have a lot of details, but I’ve been told that it’s better than anyone has ever imagined. And I can imagine some amazing things. Wow! I want to be there now.

But that’s probably not going to happen for a while yet. I still have to live in this world for a time. It’s got a lot of problems, and I have a lot of my own. Sometimes life here is boring and sometimes it is frightening. But this life also has a lot of things to enjoy. None of them come close to the joys I have waiting for me in Heaven, but God created them for me.

If this world was it, if I didn’t have a better destination waiting for me, I would be depressed. But the fact that something better is up ahead makes here and now a lot more enjoyable. As long as I have to take the trip anyway, I might as well enjoy it.

Is this biblical? After all, the Lord tells me I should look for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13) and that there’s a crown for those who love His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).

But the Lord also tells me I should rejoice always (Philippians 4:4) and that in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Philippians 4:11). Presumably that includes the state of Illinois.

And so I’ll enjoy the trip. I’ll stop along the way and smell the flowers. I’ll make my lists and have my fun and learn to be content because I know that life is a journey and my destination is out of this world.

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