I have often wondered what it would be like to live at the equator. Not the earth’s equator which divides the planet into the northern and southern hemispheres–“God’s Equator.”
This interest in the equator spilled into my quiet time early each morning as a new day dawned on a mission trip to Brazil working with Carlito and Leila Paes’ great church. And it continued on the long trip home as we found our lane at forty thousand feet. It was then that I began viewing my Christian walk against the backdrop of living life at the metaphorical “God’s Equator.”
I started out by recognizing how dangerous it is to think the goal of living at God’s Equator is to “be happy.”
No! God’s goal is to make us his. He doesn’t want to get us what we want; he wants to get us what we need. This notion comes alive in the first letter Paul wrote to the people of Corinth imploring them to be slaves of God, not people or things:
“Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings.” 1 Corinthians 7:21-23
Living a balanced and free life following Jesus at God’s Equator is counter intuitive. It cannot be found lying on a hammock and being kissed by the soothing rush of tropical air. God’s balance and rhythm come when we “explore the island” while being fueled and disciplined through day-by-day spiritual nourishment. Chief among the benefits along the way is inexpressible joy as we stride confidently in the cool breeze of Christ’s love.
It is during this stroll that we encounter an unbelievable and enduring promise from God:
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
That alone is certainly worth our time to find peace at God’s Equator. The balance we get helps us persevere through the ever-challenging circumstances we view through life’s crooked glint of light.
God is definitely interested in how we persevere and wants to show us how our pain benefits us in the bigger picture of eternity. One thing that helps me embrace this truth is to crystallize the demarcation between heaven and earth while living at God’s Equator. There is no joy without sorrow. No success without failure. No winning if there is no losing. No health without sickness. I try to keep that in mind when pondering it there could there be a heaven without the trials and testing on earth.
One thing is sure: We wouldn’t be drawn to depend on Jesus and our faith in this life if the next life weren’t bigger and better.