I’ve spent the last few months asking, What if?
What if I don’t get the job I want?
What if I don’t get to go to grad school?
What if my friendships and relationships don’t work out as I’ve envisioned?
I’ve always answered these kinds of questions with verses like Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’” I have been and am assured that whatever happens will be the absolute best thing that could happen, because God works all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).
Yet in the last few weeks, I’ve realized that I’ve limited this assurance by applying it only to my earthly future. It’s very easy to forget that my hope is not in a good career, or a healthy relationship, or good friends, or a good life. In trying to quench my anxiety about my worldly future, I’ve forgotten that the Resurrection means that death is defeated and eternal life is mine. I’ve forgotten that my hope is in Christ and the glory and eternal life He has promised (Colossians 1:27, Titus 1:2).
Paul sharply rebukes this attitude in 1 Corinthians 15:19: “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” God’s plan for us is not limited to the decades we spend on this earth. After all, “their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone” (Psalm 90:10). Instead, “we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:10). We seek to know the truth “in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began” (Titus 1:1-2). If we put on our blinders and look at the next eighty years instead of eternity, we are completely missing the mark.
This hope for eternal life does not require us to turn a blind eye to the realities of the present age. In fact, here and now, we are called to renounce worldly passions and live upright and godly lives by the grace of God. We are called to wait for our blessed hope, the coming of Christ, who purifies and redeems us (Titus 2:11-14). Here and now, we prepare our minds for action, being sober-minded. We turn away from our former passions, we act in a holy way, and we set our minds on the grace that will be brought us at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13-21).
The present life is a mix of waiting and working. It’s not easy, nor is it meant to be. God has a plan for my life and yours here on earth, but that earthly plan is not all we have to look forward to. Brothers and sisters, we have eternity to look forward to!
So while God has placed me in a good program at a good school, where I have had tremendous opportunities to grow personally, academically, and professionally, that is the least of what He has done for me. Because aside from all of our earthly blessings, He died for our sins. He has called us friends, and He has called us brothers and sisters. And He is preparing rooms for us in His Father’s house (John 14:2).
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that wherever I work or live and whoever I do those things with, God has a plan for both my good and his glory (Romans 8:28). I am grateful for these present blessings and hopeful about my worldly future, but at the end of the day, my hope rests on the grace that will be brought to me at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13).
Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom.