I find the mysteriously amazing presence of God comforting and intriguing, frightening and compelling. Scripture teaches that He is always in our midst, He is always present using the “stuff” of life to pull us close, to make Himself real, and to demonstrate that He participates with us as we grow in Christ.
Yes, there is always the tension between the now – the waiting, hoping, sobbing, longing, trying, coping, resting, laughing, yelling, kicking, screaming, fighting, loving, persevering, grasping, suffering, enjoying NOW, and the mysterious, hope-filled, restful, glorious, never disappointing, eternal, beautiful, in-the-presence-of-Jesus NOT YET. We rest our hope on the anchor of our soul – Jesus Christ and the message of the Gospel.
This hope is woven all through the pages of Scripture – men and women, who like you and me, slog through the stuff of life – pride, selfishness, lust, jealousy, idolatry, loss, sorrow, grief, and then God intervenes, center-stage, and stitches the message of the gospel through the events of history. He is completely in control, and has a preordained plan from Genesis to Revelation.
History past serves to reinforce the fact that our Redeemer is preparing us for the full restoration of His kingdom. We have so much to look forward to…let’s pray we can hang on – the best is yet to come.
Lean in as Paul describes the reality of now and the hope of not yet.
2 Corinthians 4:7-5:1 (NLT)
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.
But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.”We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus,will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits arebeing renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.”