I have just returned from holidays. Kathy and I were gone for two weeks, and we’re grateful to be home. For my part, I am deeply thankful to be allowed to continue in my teaching role at Back to the Bible Canada. My first task, as I sat down at my desk today, was to review all of the activities that are coming up. They include several trips, including one that may be overseas. I am cognizant that the next several months will be very busy.
But I am profoundly grateful. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to go through life without an overriding purpose. Purpose, a full schedule, deadlines, a long to-do list have been my life for so many years that I can’t even imagine a life without them. Indeed, I don’t long for a life without them. But coming back to Canada after two weeks away causes me to reflect upon my citizenship. Although Philippians 3:20 reminds me that my citizenship is in heaven, still Romans 13:1 reminds me that there is no authority on earth except that which is appointed by God. And I am reminded that on this side of eternity, it is the will of my Father in heaven that I willingly submit myself to the governing authorities of the country in which I live.
I wish to state something that may sound strange, even unpatriotic. I am often not proud of my nation – even though I always feel a sense of deep gratitude for Canada and the fact that I am a Canadian. I am overwhelmed with the freedoms that are mine. I find delight in the history of this nation am committed to the welfare of it. Whenever it is in my power to bless this nation, I wish to do it with commitment and enthusiasm. Indeed, I wish to speak well and respectfully of Canada. But, I am often not proud of this nation. I feel like Daniel in Babylon. Daniel’s Babylon was a deeply demonic nation. Not only did they persecute many nations, Babylon was the nation that burnt the temple in Jerusalem to the ground and slaughtered the chosen people of Israel. Babylon’s religion was filled with the occult. On several occasions, Babylon demanded its subjects worship their king as a god, and gladly persecuted any that would remain true.
When I think of Babylon and the later empire of the Persians, I am reminded of Daniel’s commitment to open his window each morning, looking toward the west, where the temple of God had once stood. As he faced west towards Israel, he reminded himself that all his longings and desires were in the eternal promises God had made to Abraham, Isaac and Israel. But while he awaited the fulfillment of God’s promises, he served the nation in which he lived. Daniel’s life, I think, is an illustration of how every believer lives. Which brings me back to this nation. Canada is not the Kingdom of God. Canada has been invaded by the prince of darkness, and often celebrates that which is evil. Canada contains none of my eternal hopes and dreams. In that sense, I am no patriot at all.
But our government, our Prime Minister and the freedoms we enjoy have been instituted by God. And until Christ returns and the kingdoms of this world are no more, I will seek to serve my country in whatever way will bring salt and light to this land. I will be thankful, grateful and even loyal to my land. But every morning, like Daniel, I will open my window toward the New Jerusalem, and pray to Him who alone has won my only devotion.