I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
Seventy years ago, he eloped with the preacher's daughter. With only a few dollars, my grandparents began their life together. They have stuck it out through seventy years of good times, some really tough times, and taught us all what commitment looks like. Now ninety-two and eighty-nine, they celebrated their seventieth anniversary quietly at home. As I spoke to my grandmother that night, she told me, "We were going to have a party, but most all of our friends are already home."
Already home. What a sweet perspective on heaven, and what a lesson on how to view this life—no matter what our age.
Longing for Perfection
Most of us know we live in a "fallen world" where we have trouble. Daily, we see evidence in the news and in our own lives. Yet, we long for perfect, don't we? We long to have everything comfortable and fixed around us. I often look at my home and think, The world may be messed up, but surely I can get this place just right.
How much time have I wasted by trying to fix difficult things when it is often those hard things that bring the biggest, best lessons?
But try as we may, our earthly homes will never be perfect. I can't even seem to keep mine clean for two hours! And, to be honest, it isn't just my home I find myself trying to "fix." Often, my efforts to fix things turn to every unappealing circumstance that affects my family, especially my children.
Yet, I find a crazy, precious peace when I manage to stop and rest in the fact that Jesus told us we would have trouble in this world—but that He is working that trouble into good (Rom 8:28). This truth supplies the power we need to surrender our trouble to Him, instead of trying to run from it or fix it ourselves. How much time have I wasted by trying to fix difficult things when it is often those hard things that bring the biggest, best lessons?
Remembering This Is Not Our Home
What if every day we remembered this is not our home?
What if we prayerfully looked at trouble as part of living, learning, and growing in God, instead of killing ourselves worrying about it, trying to fix it, or run from it?
What if we viewed each day as a day to store up treasures in heaven, instead of spending countless hours trying to make perfect a temporary, earthly house?
What if we kept our eye on our Savior, strengthened ourselves with His Word every day, and remembered, with sweet anticipation, that this world is not our home?
When we think about eternity with our King, the problems of this life don't seem so big after all.
Yes, we may feel like aliens and strangers by not keeping up with what everyone else is doing, but our perspective on our very temporary problems will change, and we will have peace. When we think about eternity with our King, the problems of this life don't seem so big after all.
One day, the small troubles like dust bunnies and smudges on my walls in my temporary, imperfect home won't matter at all. Our this-is-not-our-home mentality will guide us through even bigger troubles, as well. When we remember this life is but a breath (Job 7:7) and this world is not our home (Heb. 11:13), even very hard things—like the death of those we dearly love who know the Lord—can be seen as a temporary moment, soon to be replaced by a celebration with all our brothers and sisters (and our Lord!) in our true and lasting home.
Prayer: Father, this is not easy stuff. I want to keep my eyes on You and remember this life is not my home. Will You help me to be filled daily with the truth of Your Word? Will You help me focus on what is really important? Will You help me care about what You care about, and remember that You allow hard things as teachable moments? Will You bless me with the peace that comes from knowing You and remembering this world is not my home? Thank You Lord. I love you. Amen.