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Pointers along the way #712

The present vs. the world to come

- Jacob Ninan

"Momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison" (2Co.4:17). Many times we think our trouble is not momentary or light, and that is what bothers us. This 'eternal weight of glory' seems imaginary, far away and out of reach for now. So we put this verse away as another nice saying, and we don't seek to understand what it means! That is our loss, because there is a lot of comfort and encouragement packed into these words.

But Jesus demonstrated for us how to live on this earth with our eyes set towards heaven. For Him, what would happen in eternity outweighed the things He faced on earth. The greatest example is that He suffered and died for us, knowing that it would turn out for the salvation of multitudes. He empathised with Martha and Mary as they wept for their dead brother (Jn.11:35), but He was willing to let them go through temporary grief in order to grant them greater faith in the end and to bring glory to God (vv.4,6).

We tend to think of death as the end of life, but from God's point of view, it is just a door into the heavenly life. As a result of our viewpoint we grieve when someone dies, even though if the person was a child of God there is greater reason for rejoicing. From a human point of view we would think that it was a waste for God to allow James to be killed after all the training he had been given, but from God's point of view it was not an end to His plans but the beginning of another phase of His plans. When Christians are persecuted and martyred, they pass on to a higher life in eternity. There is special recognition and role in heaven for the saints who have lost their lives for the Gospel (Re.20:4). The apostles who were beaten up for preaching the Gospel rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for His name (Ac.5:41).

If we go through the sufferings in this world without compromising faithfulness to God, there is a crown of life waiting for us in heaven (Jas.1:12). We really don't know what this 'crown' means. It is a crown of 'life' and not some material thing. It is a heavenly blessing that will more than compensate for what we go through in this life. At that time, what we felt were mountains here that could not be moved would be seen to have been the means for training us and making us a bit more like Jesus.

Therefore we need to learn to endure what comes our way and which does not just go away even after much prayer (He.10:35,36). If we seek to find out what God is trying to tell us and to do in us, that experience will become meaningful and fruitful. If we can learn to live with eternity in view and live with an eye for the glory that is to be seen in eternity, it will not only comfort and encourage us while we are here, but also help us to bear more fruit for God. But if we live here only seeking to have a good time or to achieve something great here, we will have many regrets there. Our Lord is waiting.


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