For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Cor. 4:17).
But sometimes our troubles seem neither momentary nor light.
Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Col. 3:1-4).
But despite my very best efforts sometimes my thoughts remain weighed down by the issues of life.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).
But there is suffering in this present time.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
But all things most certainly are not good …
At least not yet.
I love God’s word. I really, really love his word. I’ve hidden it in my heart. I always want to remember his words of hope — love — and life. Words that speak of his glory. Because sometimes only his words will do. Only his word illuminates. Only his word strengthens and heals. Only his word is an anchor in the storm.
Only his word is Truth.
However, another very real aspect of truth is that right now we are living between two realities. We live in between the higher reality of heaven–of his kingdom–and the much messier reality of our current circumstances here on earth.
In the “in between” sometimes there is no understanding. There are no explanations. There are no nice tidy boxes to wrap up the messy parts of our lives. There is no doctrine, no theology, no scriptural band-aids that take away the very really pain of day-to-day life.
But there is Jesus.
And he far transcends mere theology.
There’s something about him. Something so real. Something tangible. Something I’ve only tasted in his presence. Something immovable. Something unshakable. Something undeniable.
Knowing Jesus has never slapped a smiley face on my life and kept me from pain and struggle. Far from it. But knowing him — really knowing him — knowing the transcendence of his presence and tasting the riches of his love — has done something to me.
It’s given me hope …
Even when I don’t understand.
Lately there is a lot I don’t understand. And if you are anything like the people I talk to on a day-to-day basis, I’m sure there are a lot of things you don’t understand either. But when faced with things I don’t understand, I’ve learned to hold onto to what I know to be true. And what I know to be true is his love. His peace. His goodness. His faithfulness.
And the joy and freedom I’ve personally tasted in his presence.
Right now we are living in between. But those two realities are colliding. His kingdom WILL come–on earth as it is in heaven. That’s been God’s plan all along. Even though I don’t currently live in the higher reality of his kingdom all the time, that doesn’t make it any less real. That doesn’t make it any less desirable.
It doesn’t make it any less possible.
I’m not talking about denying the pain of life. And I’m not talking about pretending we’re further along than we are. Denial and fake spirituality have never done anyone any good. But I am talking about discipline. And it most definitely is a discipline to take our thoughts captive to the Truth and set our minds and hearts on things above.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t do that perfectly. Not even remotely close. I fail all the time. Sometimes miserably. I’m still living in between. And I know Jesus will still love me exactly the same whether I ever get any better at it or not. But one thing I am convinced of is this–setting our minds and hearts on the greater reality of God’s kingdom is a discipline worth pursuing …
No matter how many times we fail.
Because it’s better there. And what I lay hold of there, dramatically affects reality here. Not just my reality …
But yours, too.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. –-2 Cor. 4:18
Oh Lord, let your kingdom come and your will be done–on earth as it is in heaven!