Sometimes being a Christian is tiring, right? I mean, we may not admit it, but constantly striving to make the right choices, say encouraging things, loving people that we don’t want to, helping others, giving hard-earned money away to church or charity…and on and on and on…all these things are enough to wear us out. And then throw in sickness and disease and selfishness and greed and all the other bad things we encounter…it can make us want to throw up our hands and fire off a few questions at God.
They were probably something along the lines of
Why am I persevering in the Christian life now?
Is all this trouble worth it in the long run?
What really happens – and does any of this matter – at the end of all things?
Those kinds of questions were not unique us. Paul answered similar questions in both of his letter to the believers in Thessalonica. Paul also addressed these topics with the believers in Corinth:
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Paul then continues his comparison of our present state with our eternal destiny:
2 Corinthians 5:1-2
For we know that if our earthly tent we live in [our earthly bodies] is destroyed, we have a building from God, and eternal dwelling [a glorified, resurrection body] in the heavens, not made with hands. Indeed, we groan in this tent, desiring to put on our heavenly dwelling…
Peter also wrote about the same things to believers:
2 Peter 3:10-13
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; on that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed. Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, it is clear what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness as you wait for the day of God…But based on His promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
During his last night on earth, one of Jesus’ final instructions to the disciples contained a peculiar promise, but it was a promise that was to motivate the disciples during the time that Jesus would no longer be physically with them:
Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also.
Mentionings like these are not isolated to the New Testament either. As just one example, God told Isaiah:
For I will create a new heaven and a new earth; the past events will not be remembered or come to mind.
These are just a few examples, but they show us that God has a long term course for human history planned out…and these verses confirm what we inwardly desire – relationship and purpose with our Creator.
If the world as we know it will pass away, what kind of lives should we live now? When we feel troubled and shaken and our bodies are falling apart, Jesus wants us to trust Him and remember that He is coming back for us, to take us to a home that He designed…with us in mind.
When we recognize this longing for eternity that God has placed in our hearts, it helps us keep our present life in perspective.