This week I had the honor of being with an individual who decided to disengage from life-support – he was ready to go to his heavenly home. As I read Scripture and held his hand, he was peaceful, calm, and looking forward to heaven. What causes a person to face death with such peace and calmness? He understood the hope we have in the Bible’s teaching,

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18)

As we go through life we face a number of difficulties that cause suffering. The Apostle Paul teaches us that the challenges we face in life can lead to hope. We see the progression in the following verses,

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)

Are you facing a challenging difficulty? You must realize that God is not only developing your character in this present time, but He is also giving you a long-range perspective that this world is not all there is – God is preparing a future for His children. If our hope however, is only in this world we can become discouraged. Thomas Browne gives us a heavenly perspective, “Were the happiness of the next world as closely apprehended as the felicities of this, it were a martyrdom to live.” Think about it – all of your favorite foods with no calories!

God is even greater than we can imagine. Saint John of Damascus wisely observed that God is a sea of infinite substance. May you be encouraged by Jesus’ words to His disciples,

If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:3)

RickAssociate Pastor – Discipleship.  The Church at LifePark

Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University

Follow me on twitter:  rickhiggins5