Life can be crazy. Circumstances change, plans go awry. People disappoint. We face discouragement which comes at us in many different forms. Though we often work hard to keep life manageable, inevitably, something happens which seems to cause things to seemingly become unraveled…
So often, in times of discouragement (or, even when things are going well for us…) we fall into the trap of merely being focused on the “here-and-now”, or we look with sinful anxiety as to what the future may hold. In doing so, we forget that, as Christians, we’re not meant to hope only in this life. As a matter of fact, the apostle Peter reminds the believers to whom he is writing that in the midst of life’s certain trials and tribulations that we are to call to mind the great hope of our salvation. He writes:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
-1 Peter 1:3-7, ESV
Expounding upon the words of Peter, Geerhardus Vos notes something both intriguing and encouraging about the nature of the Christian’s hope. He writes:
It is characteristic of youth to live in the future because youth knows instinctively that the true realities, the great possibilities of life lie before it; that that which it now is, is merely provisional and preparatory; that growing is for being. Yet even more emphatically this is true of that youthful stage of Christian life which believers spend here on earth. For after all, that which young people expect in the future is indefinite and uncertain. They know that what they have is not yet the true life. But what the true life, when it comes, will bring, if it comes at all, they cannot tell. Here hope is negative. But the Christian’s hope is positive. His youth is like unto that of the heir during his minority who knows precisely what awaits him. Nay more than this, the Christian has the assurance which no heir in temporal things can ever have. He knows with absolute certainty that not merely will the inheritance be kept for him, but that he will be kept for it. Here then there is something that possesses all the requirements necessary to make hope a safe and normal life-principle. The Christian can hope perfectly. He is the only one that can hope perfectly for that which is to be brought unto him. For him not to have his face set forward and upward would be an anomaly, sickliness, decadence. To have it set upward and forward is life and health and strength. The air of the world to come is the vital atmosphere which he delights to breathe and outside of which he feels depressed and languid. (emphasis mine)
Whatever your trial…whatever your circumstance…know that it is not forever. This does not minimize the difficulty of what you may be facing, but it does give some perspective. Because of what Christ has accomplished and secured for us in His redeeming work, we now may have a certain hope and an anchor strong enough to hold within life’s greatest storms.