Life doesn't suck when you refocus on this promise

When something is not actively present in our lives - especially something as abstract as an idea - it becomes relatively easy to let it slip out of our minds. I think in our pews-and-hymnals faith, we often forget that what lies ahead is far greater than what is in store for us on this earth. A new heaven and a new earth holds the promise of a perfect, loving Creator in fellowship with His creation. Us. Can you image that?

Our perspective often becomes dreadfully nearsighted.

Problems which are close to home grow into monsters under the bed. Their shadows are large and ominous though their size is small. They loom up in front of us and obstruct our field of vision. We're consumed with the issue immediately before us, no matter how small it may be in the time-line of eternity. Getting fired, getting lied to, getting evicted, getting stabbed in the back - they all hurt in the moment because in the moment they seem all too sharp. All too in-focus.

Likewise, a nearsighted perspective blows good things out of perspective as well. It over-dramatizes and hypes up a good thing until it consumes us. Friendships, memories, possessions - lesser things have ruined a man. The tighter we hold on to them, the more painful it is to let go. And we will let go. Friends move on, memories fade and possessions break and the heartache is ruining. Because in the moment they seem all too sharp. All too in-focus.

Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.
— C. S. Lewis

But just beyond our field of view is a beautiful, perfect future that expands into eternity. Less than 100 years away.

With a very simple shift in perspective, our pain all but wilts away.

A shift from nearsighted to farsighted living allows us to see the loss of a job against the grand picture of an eternity on a new earth. To see being lied to contrasted against a million lifetimes in the presence of the Way, the Truth and the Life. When this promised future is in focus, everything near is blurry. Problems seem almost trivial and good things are enjoyed in the moment but are only a hint of the perfect things to come. Should they disappear, it's okay - we're only 80 years from something far more beautiful.

Imagine if, as a Freshman in college, you were approached by your dream employer. They handed you a contract and promised you the job of your choice as soon as you graduate upon one condition: that you make straight A's. Do you think the course work would seem quite as hard as it may have otherwise? What is promised in the future is a powerful tool to shape how we perceive our present.

Have we become so nearsighted that we have forgotten our promised future? A future where we will walk and talk with Jesus for eternity? A future where there will be no pain or tears (Isaiah 25:8)? A future where our bodies will not grow weary (2 Cor. 5:1-4)? A future where the streets are made of the purest, translucent gold and each gate is made of a single pearl (Rev. 21:21)? A future where we each have a room prepared by our creator (John 14:1-2)? A future where there will be a river running through the new Jerusalem and the Tree of Life will bear new fruit each month (Rev. 22:1)?

That's our future.