Looking Forward Confidently
As you are reading this, Easter is already behind. You are coming down from the high emotions and renewing of spirit that you knew at Easter. You are looking forward to what lies ahead.
In youth we wondered when the next day was going to come or when the day of the anticipated event was going to arrive. As we advance in years, we wonder where yesterday or last month went. Life just seems to move on more swiftly–but to what? While it is too bad that it apparently takes so long, the fact is that advancing years create within the Christian heart a more intense contemplation of that toward which one is moving.
As we look back, we have had many fine experiences. There are many things upon which we look back with favor, with a chuckle, and with fond memory. We also recognize that however fondly we look back, there may well be times that we would prefer to forget.
While we anticipate happy days, there will likely also be–numbered in our future days known but to the Lord–days of sorrow and affliction. Nevertheless, the Christian by faith looks ahead confidently and even with a degree of restlessness to what lies ahead. That reflects the apostle Paul’s attitude. Paul recognized that the span of his life was in God’s hands. Though he recognized it was more needful for the Philippians that he remain among them, that did not diminish his expressed desire, namely, “to depart and be with Christ which is far better” (Philippians 1:23).
This life is darkness (sin) and cold (death). The message of Easter is this, that Christ has overcome sin, death, and Satan. Darkness and cold have been overtaken by light and warmth. Jesus Christ “has abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10). That truth carries with it a very present application. The Christian knows that here on this earth and in this life he is in a very foreign environment.
The message of Easter is what makes life tolerable for the waiting Christian, if even a bit impatiently. The courage of the Christian and the confidence of the Christian in this life then have nothing to do with any inner strength, but have all to do with Christ Who through His resurrection has opened the gate of heaven, and Who promises to preserve the faithful unto life everlasting.
So while the Christian too has the same desire as Paul, he is willing to wait on the Lord Who in His time shall deliver us from the present evil world to heaven. It is a blessing for the Christian to know what it is toward which he is moving as the days of his life pass! There is warmth for the Christian in this world in which the cold shoulder is turned to the faithful child of God. There is light at the end of the dark tunnel. It is the divine glow of the New Jerusalem, the city that “had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it: for the glory of God illuminated it, and the Lamb is its light” (Revelation 21:23).
May the days of your waiting be days of joy, and above all days of hope in Jesus Who on the third day rose again from the dead, and Who will also raise us up by His own power (1 Corinthians 6:14).
In every church of the Church of the Lutheran Confession, the message this past Easter was the same! From every pulpit echoed the theme of resurrection. Christ is risen from the dead. In these days of general apostasy, it is a blessing (which we do not take lightly!) that wherever you attended service in our churches, you came away with the assurance “that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1).
As our days pass by, our future comes ever closer to being our present. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)
–Pastor Daniel Fleischer