There is only the kingdom, friends. Everything else will slip through your fingers, no matter how strong your grasp. Why do we fight this hope, keeping it at arm’s length? We nod in appreciation but ask it to stay outside our yard. It is as though some power or force is colluding with our deepest fears and keeping us all under a spell. Pascal understood:
Nothing is so important to man as his own state, nothing is so formidable to him as eternity; and thus it is not natural that there should be men indifferent to the loss of their existence, and to the perils of everlasting suffering. They are quite different with regard to all other things. They are afraid of mere trifles; they foresee them; they feel them. And this same man who spends so many days and nights in rage and despair for the loss of office, or for some imaginary insult to his honour, is the very one who knows without anxiety and without emotion that he will lose all by death. It is a monstrous thing to see in the same heart and at the same time this sensibility to trifles and this strange insensibility to the greatest objects. It is an incomprehensible enchantment, and a supernatural slumber, which indicates as its cause an all-powerful force.
Pascal is bewildered, dumbfounded. What is this dark enchantment that keeps the human race from facing the inevitable? You cannot protect your hope until you face the inevitable; maturity means living without denial. But we are mainlining denial; we are shooting it straight into our veins. We are grasping at every possible means to avoid the inevitable. We give our hopes to all sorts of kingdom counterfeits and substitutes; we give our hearts over to mere morsels. We mistake the promise of the kingdom for the reality and give our being over to its shadow.
But when you raise the white flag, when you finally accept the truth that you will lose everything one way or another, utterly, irrevocably—then the Restoration is news beyond your wildest dreams.