Living with a future hope….
in this present reality….How does one do this?
Never before has there been a time in my life where I have had to grasp on to this Hope that I have believed in since I was 13. In fact, I doubt I ever really gave it much thought beyond the theological understanding of it. I never had to. My life was great. Sure, there were things that were hard. I call them “bits” of suffering now. In fact, I think I even had a certain amount of pride when Chris and I could work through things, whether it was financial issues, marriage issues, church issues…you name it. Those were bumps in the road where we descended into the valley, so to speak, but always seemed to come up the other side. It was always such a good feeling to get “back to our nice life”. We learned lots, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t think we would make it through some of those trials. Hindsight is always better right? I look back now and wonder if all that was to prepare me for now. I worked through many doctrinal issues during those times…like the Sovereignty of God. I can remember many discussions Chris and I had, sitting at the table, with our coffee mugs in hand, searching the Scriptures in relation to some trial we were going through. Have I mentioned how much he taught me in our short 20 years of marriage? I’m so thankful for those times now. I miss them terribly. I feel so lacking in trying to figure things out myself.
Chris suffered physically. A great deal actually. Not many people knew this. For years we went from doctor to doctor, tried all kinds of natural remedies. Nobody could figure out what was wrong with him. Most of the time he was in a great deal of muscle pain. Terrible headaches. There didn’t seem to be a painkiller that would work that didn’t come with debilitating side effects. So you can imagine that our conversations centered around Hope a lot. He longed to be free from the pain. In fact the night before he died we were laying in bed talking and he was pretty discouraged, in a lot of pain. He mentioned that he didn’t know how much longer he could live with his pain. We prayed, asked God to relieve him of the pain. The next morning he died. God is merciful like that.
I don’t know why God chose to end Chris’s suffering and begin mine. I don’t know why some people suffer from pain for a lifetime. But I do know that we are to expect suffering, in whatever form, and we are to use it to bring glory to God.
I have found that my hold on this world has loosened. My perspective has changed. Before Chris died I would say “we are pilgrims passing through this life” now I really feel like I am a pilgrim and cannot wait to get home. This Hope, that I always talked about, and had theologically worked out in my mind has become so much more of a reality. This is not a hope like “I don’t know if it’s gonna happen but I hope it does”. The Christian hope is a confidence that something will come to pass because God has promised it will come to pass (1 Peter 1:13). This Hope comes from the promises of God, rooted in the work of Christ.
Without this Hope I could easily become immobilized. After all, what would there be to live for? From this Hope comes joy, peace, love. My future is secure. So I can live.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
- Posted in: Uncategorized