And Afterward…

Jeff FAITH, Heaven

We have all heard this quaint saying which is actually rooted in solid truth:  God loves you and has a great plan for your life.  While this is a true statement, it is not sufficient in the way it is communicated, specifically because we have been trained to associate the concept of God’s love with pleasure and ease.  Also, when we hear the words God’s great plan for your life, we again find our minds being ushered toward a vision of that which is comfortable and convenient.  If you are truly seeking to follow God and have committed to live for His glory then you well know that there is no guarantee in this life for constant pleasure, ease, comfort and convenience.  The beautiful and fragrant rose that God extends to us is connected to a stem with thorns.

“You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will receive me to glory.” – Psalm 73:24

The full grasp of God’s perfect love for us will not be gained in this life.  The ecstasy of His prepared peace, joy and glory for you and me cannot be perfectly experienced while we live here.  The tension we all feel within ourselves is a hard to define sense of longing for the shall-be while we are presently living in the not-yet.  We were spiritually reborn through faith in Jesus Christ with an insatiable appetite for the full manifestation of the Kingdom, but we are living out our days in a realm that is far from the beauty of God’s fully revealed glory.  So we hunger again today for the afterward.

We want perfect health but we get sick and die.  We want happiness but we experience heartbreak.  We crave loyalty but encounter mistreatment.  We look for hope but taste fear.  How we long for guarantees… but we are forced to live by a faith which sometimes feels to us as less than guaranteed.  You and I hate to wait because we desire immediate and perfect satisfaction.  You see, something deep within us is confident that there awaits us a perfect paradise where no longing will be left unmet – and of that we should be confident because it is TRUE.  We inwardly sense that we are destined toward perfection and heavenly bliss.  We strongly desire it right now.  When it does not find us today, we experience a sense of loss – at times deep and penetrating and, at other times, incidental and only carrying a slight weight of discontent.  What we must realize is that our inner longing for that which is perfect, upright, tranquil and righteous is a very, very good thing.  We are longing for God Himself and something within us is unable to be perfectly satisfied without Him.  We are heading toward an eternal experience with Him that has zero barriers. But we are not there yet, so we should expect to live out the remainder of our days with some level of unfulfilled desire.  So we hunger again today for the afterward.

Yet we are still able to rejoice by faith.

We can live confidently in peaceful expectation by faith.

We can endure all that is incomplete, denied or delayed by faith. 

We can denounce the creeping sense of despair by faith. 

We retain our perspective, purpose and positivity by faith. 

We believe by faith, therefore we speak by faith. 

God hears us when we express our unfulfilled desires to Him in prayer and Holy Spirit empowers us to continue toward the afterward for another day in His powerful and sufficient grace.  We are learning to wait without losing our hunger for future glory.  We believe and are made not to stagger at the promises of God.  We continue and are strengthened to persevere because we are convinced of the inevitability of what is coming to us.  We know that we will win even while we surrender temporary things that feel like loss.  Yet the afterward is nearer today than yesterday.  We are closer!  It is all coming to us, riding upon the unstoppable wave of God’s promise to us. Jesus is coming again – for us.  The Afterward is something we cannot miss as children of God.  It has been given to us in covenant from the One who cannot lie.  And when it arrives something even more glorious than the afterward is going to occur.  What is it?

Forward.

The half has not been told.