My hands gripped the steering wheel, as the initial shock of the impact subsided. I watched a small crowd of curious bystanders gather on the sidewalk and heard a faint hissing sound from somewhere underneath my car. I was in a foreign country and had just been T-boned.
I’d maneuvered down this narrow lane hundreds of times. In a city of over two million residents, I had routinely chosen this road — barely wide enough to accommodate my small car — as my daily route. This former rice paddy trail afforded direct access to the international school where my daughters attended. Because it was one-way, this street remained less congested than others, an important factor considering the myriads of cars tangled in knots at other intersections.
At least I wasn’t the one who had run the stop sign. I had the right of way and had been driving the speed limit. It wasn’t my fault.
Or so I assumed.
A week or so later, we got the news: although both drivers had insurance, I would be responsible for my own repairs. The reasoning? It was 50% my fault. Why? “If the foreigner had been in her home country where she belonged, this wouldn’t have happened.”
I confess I was incensed. In fact, I expended weeks of emotional energy demanding privileges that were not actually mine by law. After I reluctantly paid the damages and my anger finally subsided, I realized that mandates from my home country weren’t a given in this adopted country. Foreigners living abroad did not always have the same rights as local residents.
Over twenty years after this incident, I’ve discovered there is only one passport whose legalities transcend all nationalities. Regarding of locale, holders of this citizenship have standardized legal sanctions. (What a relief to this bullheaded Texan!) Although I am a “stranger and alien” of this world, God has given His children rights to a Kingdom from which we cannot be shaken (Hebrews 11:13; John 1:12; Hebrews 12:28).
When I lived abroad, I wanted to exercise privileges I did not possess. If my rights were so important to me then, why do I not take advantage of the heavenly benefits afforded to me now? Why do I spend so little time familiarizing myself with my Kingdom rights?
The feisty widow in Jesus’ prayer parable knew her rights. “Give me legal protection from my opponent,” she demanded (Luke 18:3). Do I know what mine are?
Explore with me just a few of our Kingdom rights as children of the Most High.
These and so many more rights are ours as we embrace our heavenly citizenship. In fact as we read through our Kingdom “constitution,” we find that “as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes!” (2 Corinthians 1:20) Why then do we squander so great a prerogative?
What rights will you claim today?
I stood at the edge of the room, overwhelmed with the grandeur. I’d received the invitation, but couldn’t believe I should have.
As my eyes scanned the magnificent room, it was obvious that royalty presided here. Lofty arches, splendid tapestries, and fresco paintings lined the walls. Gilded sconces bordered the edges, reflecting light from the carefully placed mirrors of ornate gold-leaf. I shielded my eyes from the brilliance as I looked upward to the lofty ceiling where multiple, magnificent chandeliers hung, heavily laden with brilliant diamonds and carefully-cut crystal. Everything within my vision spoke of untold wealth and unlimited resources.
Pushed back along the marble walls were heavily carved but unused chairs, crafted long ago from some exotic wood. As I marveled, I noticed that although many attendants stood in hushed tones around the perimeter, only two individuals sat on expansive thrones, presiding in regal majesty and resplendent glory from an elevated platform. Above them, a singular crown hovered overhead, a perfect replica of the ones worn by the aristocracy below. Jewels without number studded their crowns, blazing with flashes of rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and topaz as if ignited from their own inner fire.
My pupils widened as I grappled to take in the opulence of the scene. Despite the extravagance of the view, the royalty themselves were what soon riveted my attention. Both King and his Prince wore snowy robes that trained into the room, glittering and radiant from a splendid, unknown fabric, stitched with threads like pure gold. Although stately in appearance, the two were somehow personable as well, as if they truly enjoyed one another’s company. Intent together, they discussed matters of state, pausing to ponder and nod before resuming with a touch of a sleeve.
I guess there is truth about the power of a gaze, for although I remained tucked into the background, I caught the Prince’s eye and he shifted to look directly at me. The whispers around me silenced as all attention turned my way. Caught inadequate, my knees went limp and I dropped trembling to the ground, in a prostate position. I knew I shouldn’t have come.
For the longest moment of my life, I lay quivering, trying to pray. Then a hand touched my shoulder and gave me the strength somehow to stand. Assuming I was being ejected, I kept my head down, to avoid further humiliation.
Yet, instead of rough jerk, a gentle hand cupped my chin, raising my face to eye level. There before me was the Prince himself with eyes burning from a flame of love. “Come, My sister,” He said and gripped my shaking hand with His firm, steady one. As if in a dream, we moved toward His throne and He motioned for me to take a place beside Him on His own cushioned seat. Confused and keenly aware of my own glaring imperfections, I looked into the King’s face, searching His for disapproval.
“Relax, My child,” the King smiled, nodding His approval. “Bring her a regal robe of wisdom, righteousness, and holiness,” and within minutes, I was clothed like royalty itself. As I marveled at my new position there between the two of them, they leaned forward and continued the dialog of which I was now included. “We were just talking about your world,” the King said directly to me. “Would you like to join us?”
“God… seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus…who is at the right Hand of God, interceding for us” (Ephesians 2:6; Romans 8:34).