Then a morning dawns as clear a blue as you could ever imagine and the sun comes out in a blaze you would swear was even brighter than in summer. The dog’s fur is warm from lying out in the field instead of burrowing under the porch, and you wish you could lie out there with her. Now you know why it’s called “The Sunshine State,” and you also know no one up north has these respites, certainly not this degree of warmth in the middle of December, January, or February. They also don’t have bright yellow jessamine cascading from the tops of trees, and camellias treating you to a mid-winter pink blossom that can withstand even a quick morning’s frost.
Life is like that for Christians. God never promised a life without trials any more than He promised a year without winter. We do our neighbors a disservice when we tell them all their problems will go away if they just hand them over to the Lord. Casting your burdens on him doesn’t mean they won’t affect you any longer—it means you have all the help you need to handle them. Why would the help be promised if those problems were going to disappear?
Paul said he served “the Lord with all tears, and humility, and trials” (Acts 20:19). James tells us to “count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds” (1:2). Peter goes so far as to tell us it is necessary for us to be “grieved by various trials” (1 Pet 1:6) and not to think it “strange” when we are (4:12).
But God does give us reminders of what is to come, things we might call a taste of Heaven here on earth. He sends it in a strong, godly marriage with two people working together, laughing together, crying together, and growing together as they help each other toward that final Home. He gives it in that first lusty cry from your child as he enters the world. He reminds us of that first place we lost in the spring when the azaleas explode in all their color, when the dogwoods shine through the woods like a beacon, and when the birds sing in a cacophony of trills, tweets, chirps, and twitters as they fly back and forth building their nests. He shows us what He has in store for us as we gather with our sanctified brothers and sisters and raise our hearts in song and encourage one another with love, with advice, and with edification to sustain us during those times not quite so Heavenly tasting.
We cannot have Heaven now. We wouldn’t want to give up this world if we did. So we have troubles, we have tragedies, we grow old and ache and become aggravatingly forgetful and finally learn to long for our true abode instead of being satisfied with second best. But God does remind us occasionally of how it will be, a little nudge in the right direction so we will eventually make it Home.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, Col 3:1-2.