"In this world you will have trouble." No kidding. Jesus, the master of understatement, captures in one sentence the story of our lives. He adds, "But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Why aren't we more encouraged? (Sometimes we'll try to feel encouraged when we hear a "religious" passage like this, but it never really lasts.) The reason is that we are still committed to arranging for life now. Be honest. Isn't there a disappointment when you realize that I'm not going to offer you the seven secrets of a really great life today? If I wanted to make millions, that's the book I would write. The only thing is, I would have to lie. It can't be done. Not yet. And that yet makes all the difference in the world, because desire cannot live without hope. But hope in what? For what?

Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:13, emphasis added)

I read passages like this, and I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. Fully? We don't even set our hope partially on the life to come. Not really, not in the desires of our hearts. Heaven may be coming. Great. But it's a long way off and who really knows, so I'm getting what I can now. For most Christians, heaven is a backup plan. Our primary work is finding a life we can at least get a little pleasure from here. Heaven is an investment we've made, like Treasury bonds or a retirement account, which we're hoping will take care of us in the future sometime, but which we do not give much thought to at present.

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