Have you ever wondered what God is doing during these last days? Why does wickedness abound all around us? Why do believers endure so much personal sorrow and even persecution?
The Lord spoke to my heart about these things through JD Farag’s special update on October 7, 2018. Farag emphasized that the things causing us so much distress today are in reality preparing us to leave this world. That which upsets us the most, the evil around us and the frustrations we personally experience, help us release our grip on the things of this world grab onto our hope of eternity.
Imagine, if you will, if our world was just about perfect; if it reflected the following scenario:
Governments all around the world were abolishing abortion on demand
Sex trafficking no longer existed
All political disagreements were handled peaceably with debate, not threats
There was no threat of wars in the world or violence on the streets of our cities
Disastrous hurricanes and earthquakes no longer posed a danger to us
We maintained our health and strength without any of the issues of aging
We lived free of financial stress or worries
Believers never faced opposition, persecution, or even death because of their faith
People treated each other with the kindness and forgiveness of Ephesians 4:28-32
If these things were true, why would we long to leave our world? Who would be eager for the Lord’s return if they experienced all these things?
That’s exactly the point. Not only does the wickedness of our day frustrate and grieve us, it makes us long for a better time. It shifts our attention to Jesus’ imminent return to take us home to His Father’s House (John 14:2-3).
This is what Paul wrote about in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” In other words, when the apostle compared his exceedingly intense sufferings to the glory ahead for him in eternity, he found that his present affliction was not even “worth comparing with” all the glory awaiting him in eternity.
Wow, what an extraordinarily wonderful view of heaven Paul must have had to make such a comparison.
Here’s how the Lord spoke to me through Farag’s message on Romans 8:18-25:
1. Don’t let the wickedness of this world frustrate you so much: I am not saying I now accept evil or that I will do nothing about it, but I see it differently. Not only is it something I expect while living in the last days before the tribulation, it’s something that increases my focus and longing for the Lord’s return. I know a better day is coming and that gives me great hope in spite of what I see or experience.
2. Remember the encouragement of a two-world perspective: Earlier in my life, I experienced much hardship, difficulties, and pain. I know the despair of sleepless and tear-filled nights. I have felt the inner ache that comes as a result of failure, rejection, and great financial stress. In the midst of all my grief, the Lord brought relief to my heart through a two-word perspective that set my expectations on the joy and glory of eternity rather than the pain I felt at the time. The Lord taught me the lesson of Romans 8:18.
Even though my current life is relatively calm compared to my challenging past, J.D.’s update reminded me of the necessity of maintaining such an outlook on life, of learning to value the eternal things we cannot see above the temporal things that continually scream for all our attention (see 2 Cor. 4:16-18).
We have a wondrous and joyous future just ahead of us in eternity. In the meantime, it’s so easy to let the evil around us and our personal suffering blur our vision of eternity. In good times and bad, however, we must remain focused on eternity realities rather than the fleeting realities of this life.
3. Don’t forget about your joy ahead in eternity: Lastly, Farag’s message reminded me to always maintain my focus on joy ahead for me in eternity. I feel the pull of the world as I write this article; I know it only takes a moment to begin longing for what I see versus my eternal joy.
Life is brutal and unkind at times. We feel the urge to respond in anger to the evil around us or to others who mistreat us; I know I feel this at times. But the reality is that our primary foe is Satan rather than what we see (see Eph. 6:12).
Will the things on my list at the beginning of this article ever be reality? Yes, someday Jesus will reign over the entire world and in the eternal state our lives will be much better than they ever could if all those things came true during our lifetime on earth. We are not promised good times on earth, but in eternity . . . watch out!
In Revelation 21:4 the Lord promises us that in the eternal state Jesus “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Furthermore, He assures us we will enjoy all this in perfectly whole and imperishable bodies (1 Cor. 15:51-55; Phil. 3:20-21). These are not the dreams an overly optimistic dreamer; they are the sure promises of God’s Word.
The Lord promises us a spectacular and thrilling eternity. It’s our focus on the joy ahead for us, the essence of a two-world perspective, that enables us to endure the deep disappointments of our current lives and comforts us in midst of sorrow.