Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared with the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.
Romans 8:18-19 NLT
Many years ago, I attended a seminar entitled Anticipating Heaven. I learned that we were invited to consider the reality of God’s promise not as a daydream to remove ourselves from the harsh realities of the present but to determine how best to live within them now. It was a means to create perspective on my present and my way of addressing and living with that present. At a time of personal suffering I was grateful to that seminar, which helped orientate myself within very difficult circumstances.
It seems counterintuitive to look beyond the suffering of the moment to the secure future we have with Jesus; a form of escapism or displacement process to avoid facing our present reality. Yet, it in fact presents us with a foundational truth about our faith. Following Jesus is not about avoiding pain and suffering; it is about learning to live within it.
In seasons of pain, in that final journey towards death, we each must find a way to take hold of God’s promise. This is no empty promise but the reality of a life lived forever in the immediate presence of God. It is in fact what each of us has been created for, yet there is no means of attaining it without our mortal experience on earth.
You may face sufferings that lie beyond rational explanation. There is little help afforded through asking, “Why me?” However, there is an opportunity to look beyond the present reality, to peer through this present darkness, towards the light and hope of Christ risen and eternity ahead.
Can you anticipate heaven, not as an escape but in preparation for your future?
Thank you for the promise in scripture that you are preparing a place for me to live in eternity with you (see John 14:2-3). May the prospect of eternity fill me with fresh hope and strength for today.