"If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men." 1 Corinthians 15:19
Life has a way of driving our faith dangerously close to the edge. What we expect from God so often seems to contradict what we experience in life. We find ourselves wanting to ask: If God is good, then why did this happen? If God is all-powerful, then where is He now? If God loves me, why am I not happier? Richer? Why don’t I have fewer problems and more peace? If God is pleased with me, why don’t I experience more pleasure?
Unanswered questions like these threaten our enthusiasm and heartfelt commitment to Christ. We find our faith growing more stoic, our view of God less emotive. We develop a kind of Christianity that shrugs its shoulders and says, “Well, that’s just the way it is.”And since the stakes are too high to deny God, we just decide to buck up, grin and bear it, and hope that no one ever asks us these kinds of questions. In fact, we may even come to believe that in order to maintain spiritual sanity we need to park our brains and questions outside the door of faith and separate the spiritual realm from the realities of life. At this point, faith itself becomes unreal and irrelevant.
We are left to slug it out on our own, believing that the only relevant resources are in this present world.
A disintegrating faith creates a resigned, despairing Christianity that lacks vibrancy and enthusiasm for God and His Word. Our edge is dulled, leaving us passionless and pessimistic. This decline of confidence in and commitment to God may be why there is something dreadfully wrong and out of sync with us.
The fault is not with God; it is with us. We have assumed that this world should be a pleasant and friendly place and that the answers to the troublesome questions of life can be found in the temporal realm. We have assumed that the answers to life’s dilemmas lie somewhere within us, among us, or within the realm of the immediate world around us. We are wrong.
Thankfully, redemption has put us back in touch with the eternal world beyond and has placed eternity in our hearts. Saving grace has blown down the walls that obscured our view of eternity and has given us a present relationship with Christ the King of eternity, who now lives within us.
If you sense that you are missing something—that you had expected more—then perhaps you have neglected the pressing preeminence of the world to come and its first-wave expression in the person of the King who dwells in the world that is in our hearts. It is only when we actively embrace the world beyond and the world within in their proper perspectives that we become capable of finally coping with and conquering our fleeting experience in this present world.
Paul had it right when he said: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men” (1 Corinthians 15:19).
- We all have unanswered questions lurking beneath the surface. What are some questions that might threaten your spiritual sanity?
- Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-58. What significance does the resurrection of Christ have in your life?
- List some of the truths you know about the world to come—heaven. (If you need some clues, read Revelation 21:1-27.) How does the anticipation of heaven bring you hope and joy today?