We've never been to a funeral, no matter how tragic or expected the person's death, when much of the service and the conversations surrounding it didn't center on memories of his or her life. We recall happier times we spent together. We reflect on what this individual was like. We regret that we won't be able to enjoy their smile or laughter anymore on earth.
We look back. That's all we humans really know how to do. To look back is to know. To look ahead is merely to guess and wonder.
But not for the believer in Jesus Christ. Our view looking forward, though lacking in some of the specifics God has chosen not to reveal, is one of confidence and knowledge, of hope and authentic anticipation. Randy Alcorn writes in Game Plan for Life, "As people age, they tend to look back at when they were at their best, knowing they'll never regain those days. But if you're a Christ-follower, you don't look back to your peak. You look forward to it."
Imagine being encouraged, as Randy says, that "the strongest I've ever felt is just a hint of what's to come." Imagine being sure that "the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God" (Romans 8:21). Imagine being able to look ahead . . . and know.
Pray this prayer: Lord, there's so much I don't understand. But as one who has given his life to you, I pray that you will settle my heart whenever I doubt your promises. Help me believe in your love for me.
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