Christians are designed to live in and enjoy the benefits of two ecosystems, two realities—the physical and the spiritual, the earth and the heavens.
Each world offers graces for human flourishing. The natural world is saturated with beauty, and beauty nourishes the human soul. That’s why we vacation in lovely places—when we’re looking to be renewed, we choose walks in the woods, swimming in the ocean, biking through vineyards, music, and dinner on the patio under the stars. There are many natural graces that nourish and strengthen the heart and soul—beauty is one, stillness is another, and so are nature and disentangling from technology, but I wrote about those in my book Get Your Life Back, so I won’t go into them here.
We are also created to live comfortably in the spiritual world, to draw upon the supernatural graces available to us through the rest of God’s wonderful kingdom.
If you’ve ever experienced the comfort of God, or the love of God, that was heaven coming to you here on earth. You tapped into the rest of God’s kingdom for the help, strength, and sustenance you needed.
Prayer is reaching into the heavens for what we need. If you have had the joy of hearing Jesus speak to you, if he brings to you scriptures, songs, things that stir your heart, that’s the heavens coming into your natural world. You are tapping into the resources of God’s kingdom. And there is so much more to discover!
For some reason I’m thinking of penguins. They aren’t technically amphibians, but they move comfortably between two worlds. Like most mammals that live on land—they nest on land, sleep on land, mate on land, raise their chicks on land. But they are wonderfully adept in the ocean. Penguins are, in fact, awkward on land, but they are so graceful, even elegant, as they swim and dive in the water. We are meant to be the same: not only adept but even elegant in our ability to swim in the rest of God’s kingdom.
Our created nature is designed to live in two worlds, drawing our strength from two worlds; that’s why I call us amphibians. But most of us are not tapping into the supernatural graces. We can’t ignore these and hope to thrive in an hour like this one. If you place a frog—a true amphibian—in a tank of water with no dry place to crawl onto, it will die. If you place it in a terrarium with no water, it will die. Amphibians need both realms to thrive. We cannot hope to find resilience while we ignore the provision God has for us in the fullness of his beautiful kingdom.