The future now. . .

Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.

I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.

You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation.

I read passages like these, and during a normal season of my life, it fills me with hope and excitement. But there are dark times that make reading something like this difficult and frustrating. “A day is coming” sounds cheap, almost like “It’s gonna be okay” when you know better.

And it’s easy to feel that way. It’s almost like there’s no way out of a rut you’ve been in for too long. It’s easy to give in because it’s been like this for what feels like an eternity. There’s no direction to life, no purpose anymore, no real fulfillment where there once was pure joy.

But maybe this is for the better. As dark as today may seem, there is a tomorrow. And through the trials we become better, stronger, more resilient. We may not see the completion of our salvation now, but take heart. God has promised to complete it. Like Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, “I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

In 627 BCE a man named Jeremiah began his ministry in ancient Israel. He wasn’t exactly a popular fellow because he promised his country that they would be taken captive and hauled away to a foreign land. Obviously people didn’t want to hear that their great nation was going to be defeated and carried off.

But Jeremiah spoke the truth.

In 586 BCE the Babylonian Empire swept through Israel and hauled the population off to Babylon.

But in the middle of all of Jeremiah’s predictions of destruction was a word of hope.

This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you. I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land” (emphasis added).

In the middle of our pain and suffering,

in the middle of our distress and anxiety,

in the middle of our frustration and hopelessness,

God promises a future.

And because of Jesus, that future starts now.

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