My Story: Two Worlds Crossed My Path

My Better Life Now; the Best is yet to Come

I’m a pilgrim, and just one such of my clan, boasting that distinction. Maybe you’re one as well. And for sure, there are many others, who claim that name. But this is my story...

I'm not a farmer, neither was I raised on a farm, but I'd seen in my growing up a field being plowed. My dad would have a man come with a tractor to plow up a portion of the ground on our property where we could plant a vegetable garden. First, there was the turning up the ground and then tilling the soil, smoothing it out making the ground ready for planting. Perhaps that illustrates my years. I plowed the "good" life, not a "raunchy" lifestyle, as one such before the ground is smoothed out. Or perhaps better put, as a life without God may so reflect. Mine was of mild soil throughout the years—following the simple path—free of any "rocks or roots or ruts."

God has so blessed me for having been born to parents who took their children to church and Sunday school every week, and even to church camps, so I’m quite familiar with the Bible stories of Jesus, and also of good morals and good speech. I don’t even recall ever uttering a foul word. And I can still picture myself during Vacation Bible School, at the craft table putting together a plaque with a picture of Jesus and using macaroni letters to spell out a Bible verse.

Born in Toledo, Ohio, and I grew up south of Cleveland and west of Akron.
I’m the youngest of four children. I have two older brothers and an older sister. Perhaps the furthest I strayed from my upbringing was choosing to stay home from church on Sunday evenings. My parents permitted my second brother and myself that option if we chose to do so. We generally did, with the idea of finishing our school homework assignments. But once that was done, we turned on the television – we had our favorite TV programs, even on Sunday evenings. I took in an abundance of TV viewing in my youth. One might even say I was walking TV Guide. (Perhaps as Linus of Peanuts' fame has his "security blanket," TV viewing was mine.)

We did go to church occasionally on Sunday evenings; in particular, when there was a special service – Revival Meetings, as such were called. Perhaps it was then mainly when I would hear sermons of the world coming to an end. Hearing such sermons, however, my young mind could not imagine such a thing – the world coming to an end? – What would happen to all the tall buildings, trees, and most importantly (so I thought then) Disneyland, and all other such stuff of the physical realm that makes for the "good life"?

And so, my "good life" continued on, until the time when I realized that such a good life doesn’t make one good before God. (See Romans 3:9-20.) Following is the rest of my real life story of faith, and what brought me to that realization when two worlds crossed my path.

Some people were born with a silver spoon in their mouth. I was more fortunate; I was born with a “double crown on my head. But I didn’t realize my fortune until several decades after my physical birth.

When I was a child I met a Native American who, noticing my double crown, predicted that I would see two worlds some day. Until lately I hadn’t given too much thought to that prediction. But in the later years of my earthly pilgrimage, it occurred to me that not just I but the whole of humanity indeed lives in two very different worlds.

Two Worlds? But all was well, right?

The Bible[1] says, “In the beginning, God created...” a perfect world (Genesis, chapters 1 and 2), where at one time in history mankind was in harmony with one another and with his Creator.

"... Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was excellent in every way..."
(Genesis 1:31)

But then...

Mankind breaks their fellowship with God (see Genesis chapter 3). Being deceived by the serpent in the Garden of Eden, they partake of the forbidden fruit, and plunge the entire human race into rebellion against God to this day; mankind inherits Adam’s sinful nature. Through that one act of disobedience, the earth is filled with violence, wickedness, immorality, and terror. The beautiful art form God had created is dissolved by mankind’s sin into a confusing mess of discordant colors

"...The LORD God said, 'the people have become as we are, knowing everything, both good and evil. What if they eat the fruit of the tree of life? They will live forever! So the LORD God banished Adam and his wife from the Garden of Eden, and he Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made..." (Genesis 3:22-23)

 There now exists two very different worlds

1. The world we see, that seems real to us but is actually ABNORMAL, where mankind tries to be a god, causing disarray, chaos, and confusion – a kingdom of darkness. This world will continue until the end of time. This is the physical temporal realm and is the domain of that same evil one who led astray the first of mankind.

“… they loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil...” (John 3:19)

2. The world we hear about, but don’t see (and maybe we don’t believe in it, or it doesn’t seem real to us), where the LORD is God – harmonious, orderly, and peaceful – a kingdom of light. This world will continue on as long as there is a forever; it is the spiritual realm, the domain of God, the Creator of us all.

“.... But those who do what is right come to the light gladly, so everyone can see that they are doing what God wants...” (John 3:21)

There is a great gulf between the two worlds. Only righteousness and good can coexist with God in His Kingdom of light.

And the Bible tells us that we’re excluded from that: “No one is good – not even one…” (Romans 3:9-18.) Because of mankind’s rebellious, disobedient (“sinful”) nature, we all have inherited from Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden: human barriers of pride, self-will, “I did it my way,” good works, religion, philosophy, morality. All this blocks mankind from bridging that “great divide.”

When I saw this, I cried, “Dear God, how is it then possible for me (or anyone) to re-enter Your Kingdom of light and enjoy your fellowship now and forever?

“With man, it’s impossible,” replied God.

“… the wages of sin is DEATH…” (Romans 6:23a)

God, however, still loved me, and had a plan all along to buy me back from the clutches of the evil one, rescuing me from that “empty life (I) inherited from (my) ancestors...” (1 Peter 1:18, personalized)

“... The free gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE...” (Romans 6:23b)

And God does it for us:

“God sent His Son, born of a woman (conceived of the Holy Spirit), subject to the law, to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law...” (Galatians 4:4 & 5; Romans 5:8.)

My Turn to Choose

And so, being confronted with the two worlds, I came to a fork in the road, on one particular day, where I had to decide for myself which world offered the greater benefits.

(In this present time we’re all a part of both worlds, yet we’re either aligned with the eternal world of God, or with the temporal and dark world of mankind.)

Continuing in the way of this temporal world may be pleasurable for a while, yet I knew, as the Bible says, that path leads only to eternal darkness and everlasting torment.

On the other hand, entering the second world, through faith in Jesus, the Christ (Messiah), has brought me a new life, being truly alive. Making this choice, I became not only a part of the second world, the one of God which gives me everlasting life with God, but which is full and significant in this present time (See John 10:10b.). I’m alive with the Light of God even as I travel through the darkness of the first, temporal world.

Jesus said, “…Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has… crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24, NIV)

“… the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it...” (Matthew 7:13-14 NLT.)

My choice at God’s appointed time made all the difference for me for all time and eternity. Wow! God’s gracious loving kindness spared me from that torment which is meant solely for the evil one and his angels, not for mankind.

“For it is by grace [I] have been saved, through faith – and this not from [myself], it is the gift of God – not by works, so [I can’t] boast… except in the cross of Christ Jesus my Lord….” 
(Ephesians 2:8-9;  Galatians 6:14, NIV, [brackets mine])

All I needed to do to move into God’s world was to simply realize this truth. All it took to break down the barriers that kept me from experiencing the real life as God had originally planned was a sincere turning from my goodness (my deceptive, evil nature), and trusting in Jesus’ goodness and His care to make me right with God.

Through the years since, as that Native American of those earlier years predicted I would, I have realized the two worlds that exist in this time—the temporal and the eternal. Apart from the works of God in this temporal world, everything else here, including (especially maybe) my TV viewing, has little or no value to me now (see Colossians 3:1-2). This temporal world is a "fantasy island," and Hollywood its capital city.

I fear no more the (temporal) world coming to an end, as I had in my youth. Jesus is making all things new, and a better place for me to call home—for all eternity. Hence, not my "best life now;" (in Jesus) the best life is yet to come (see John 14:1-3; Revelation 21:1-5; 2 Peter 3:10).

In the meantime, in this time it's continuing onward until the upward call to my heavenly home.  In my leisure and my labor may all my thoughts and my words (written or spoken, virtual or vocal) reflect Jesus (see Hebrews 12:1-4). That I may be ever attentive to the Holy Spirit's leading to proclaim the Father's Good News (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) to this lost ever-darkening world by means as He so directs —wherever He leads.

Again, thanks to God, most importantly for the many incidents, and the people He brought into my life all along the way, and particularly my early upbringing.

A "misfit" so I feel I am in this temporal time. That so, however, I'm "fitted" right in on the lighter side knowing Jesus as my Savior and Lord, and soon coming King, trekking that road less favored by, purposed to shine the light and spread the salt for God's glory. Knowing better so now, choosing that way made all the difference for me for all time and eternity. "In Christ, the old life is gone; a new [better] life has begun!" (2 Corinthians 5:17 [brackets mine]).

"He brought me [too] up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, [out of my "good" life], and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…" (Psalm 40:1-3, NASB [brackets mine])

[1] The Bible = God’s Word, which I have come to realize and accept as absolute truth and authoritative for right living.

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