But our citizenship is in heaven.
If you ever want to take on a sobering read, pick up a book entitled, The Gulag Archipelago. The book is a first-hand account of what life was like in a Soviet forced-labor camp during the 1940’s and ’50’s. The accounts of what took place are so powerful and compelling, that in 1970 the book earned the Nobel Prize. Many consider it one of the most important books of the Twentieth Century.
What pulls you into the text, however, is not just the vivid description of what took place. Mixed in with the details of horror, cruelty, and desperation are proclamations of profound insight.
For example, the author unfolds what some Soviet prison guards were willing to do to terrorize and manipulate the inmates. But when he does, he also reveals what the guards feared the most. He says what they feared most is when they dealt with someone who knew that this life is nothing in comparison with the life that is to come—when they dealt with someone who knew that they were only passing through this short life, and that life eternal awaited. Against this kind of inmate, the prison guards were helpless. And because they were helpless, they were afraid.
Think about that for a moment. Through faith in Jesus—who died for your sin and rose from death—you can now look the rest of your life in the eye. And you can do so with a kind of courage that makes the powers of darkness tremble. Will there be days of difficulty in your future? Yes. Will there be days of sorrow? Yes. Will there be days of loneliness, disappointment, and suffering? Yes, yes, and yes.
But our citizenship is in heaven, God’s Word says. Heaven is where we belong. Heaven is where we are going. And because that is true, the passing moments of trouble we encounter—as terrible as they may be—are only that, passing moments.
Lord Jesus, the troubles I face in this world last only a moment. My life of joy with you will last forever. Help me remember this. Amen.