Hope in Spite of Suffering

While people are more frequently reminded as they get older that things wear down and waste away, Christians can forget in their daily life that what we labor and strive for is not for this world but the next. We build up castles for ourselves when the Lord has promised us the world. We make a name for ourselves when He calls us His children. We forget that this world and what is within wastes away, including ourselves. But, when we eventually come to realize it, we fall into despair. This is why we focus on what we can build, as if to reverse this wasting away process. We think that if we live for the here and now, our present and future will be better. But what does Scripture remind us of?

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 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. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

~ 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:10 ~

We know that one day our mortal bodies will wear out and die. We waste away in this world corrupted by sin. Yet we do not lose heart. Instead, we have hope because our spirit is renewed within us day by day, recognizing that this is not our home, that these mortal bodies will one day be replaced by a heavenly dwelling that God fashioned for us, as He fashioned us. Christ has already given the Spirit to us as a taste of what will come in the hereafter, and what a glorious thing that is now! Though our bodies ache and groan, we can have hope and joy with the Spirit within us because we know of what is to come. As Christ died and was raised again, so too will we be raised on the last day. This is our hope. This is why we live in anticipation of that day, fixing our eyes on Jesus, for He is faithful and will return with His reward (Mat. 16:27, Heb. 10:23, 12:1-2, Rev. 22:12).

What we live for on this earth, is not for the here and now but for the hereafter. We do not strive for what is wasting away, rather, for what is eternal. For our mortal bodies will be swallowed up in life, true and eternal life with Christ. We are on this earth in weakness, but we will be raised in glory on that Day (1 Cor. 15:42-49). So while there is much despair over in this life, we can be joyful in hope are we look in faith for the life that is to come. Christ’s promises are why we have this hope eternal and are why we live with joyful anticipation. This world is not all there is, and the best is yet to come.

Blessings to you and yours,

~Rose

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