This seems to be the year of the Visa. Two of my good friends have had sons and daughters emigrate to the United Kingdom. In both cases there was a lot of stress and hardship because the visas didn’t come through in time. There seem to be so many hoops to jump through. My best friend’s son expected to spend last Christmas with his wife and two little girls in England. They had sold their house, the girls had said goodbye to their school, and they expected to leave South Africa within a week or so. They waited and waited, the mother super stressed trying to parent the two girls on her own, having to find somewhere to stay, and money was an issue because her husband had found a house and bought her a car and they now had to maintain two households in two countries. It was only in August this year that the family was finally re-united.
I’ve mentioned the difficulties with the New Zealand visas for my husband and I to visit our family in New Zealand. Ukrainian friends of ours, who had fled to South Africa with their three children, have had endless problems with passports, citizenship of the baby, and visas. In fact, they were all ready to fly to Poland and were stopped at the airport because there was no agreement between two sets of officials.
It is not easy to get into another country. Citizens of the country, even if they are living abroad, have no difficulty getting into their country of citizenship. Many South Africans whose parents or grandparents came from England, have been able to get British passports. It is not cheap, however, and takes some time and effort getting documentation and clearances.
It is no surprise to find that heaven is not an automatic destination for people who die on earth. The entry requirements are so strict that nobody on earth can fulfill them. The only option is to become a citizen of heaven and for that one needs family ties.
John says, “He (Jesus) came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. but to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:11-13 ESV)
So Paul can proclaim, “But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior” (Phil 3:20 NLT)
The Kingdom of Heaven does not operate like any country on earth. Even while we live in the world, we have to abide by the customs and rules of the Kingdom to which we belong. The King has deposited His Spirit in our hearts to help us with that and we won’t get it right until we get there.
Lord Jesus Christ, in my own strength I can not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Thank You that You have done it all. You made a way to save me by dying on the cross for me. thank You. I trust You alone with my final destiny. Amen.