We wish our joys in this world didn’t always have to be ruined by sorrow. And in fact, a day is coming when complete joy and rest will be given. But that time is not yet. For now, we need to accept the reality of both our toil and our tears.
The judgment day will clarify many things. For example, it will clarify what was important (rather than trivial) and permanent (rather than temporary). If we would look with honesty and courage, we could see these realities right now.
For now, the truth about God is not unequivocal. It is possible to deny that He exists. But when the Father and His Son openly declare themselves, the truth will be unavoidable. Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess the truth.
The war between good and evil, many will be defeated because they didn’t have what it takes: the will to conquer. This does not diminish our reliance upon God’s help at all; it simply emphasizes the need for us to do our part with all our might.
If the Lord returns today, we’ll be accountable for our use of the abilities we’ve acquired up to now. But what if He doesn’t? Tomorrow, will we be content to have no more ability than we had today? Isn’t there something new we could learn to do?
In the New Testament, as in life, there are many pairs of concepts or ideas that seem contradictory but are actually complementary. In order to get what the gospel of Christ offers us, we have to learn to balance complementary concepts.
When we find ourselves longing or yearning, it’s usually because there is something we need which we, at that moment, don’t have. There is nothing wrong with longing. Paul did it. The Lord did it. And so will we, if we’re honest.
Christianity is about receiving the crown of righteousness — so we ought not to dread the day of our death (or that of the Lord’s coming) any more than a runner dreads to cross the finish line. To get to the finish is why we run!
We must emulate the reason for Jesus’ endurance as well as the fact of the endurance itself. And why did He endure? It was “for the joy that was set before Him.” The pure, priceless joy on the other side pulled Jesus through this world.
God has made us such that we have an inescapable need for perfect, unmitigated, consummate fellowship with Him. That need cannot be filled in this life, even in Christ, and our tragedy is that we do not see how much more we need.