By looking back at what God has done and forward to what we know He will do, we can experience what He is doing in the present in a very special way.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a teenager. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be an adult. There’s nothing else to want but death, so I’ll stop there in terms of physical age. Now I find myself wanting to finally be fully grown up spiritually. Or as Paul once said, “We groan as we eagerly wait for our adoption, the freeing of our bodies from sin.” (Romans 8:23 GW)
Right now, believers in Jesus live in the nether regions. This world no longer feels like “home” but we haven’t yet arrived at our final destination. We’re in the process of being re-shaped into the image of Jesus, but we’re not there yet. So we fight temptation, suffer setbacks, and struggle for deeper understanding of our new identities in Christ.
My friend and fellow Pastor, Cary Schmidt, said it well: “So it is to be a real Christian – by grace I am rescued into a redemptive relationship with Jesus, promised an eternity of perfection, but constrained to wait with patience for God’s eternal purpose to unfold. In His Word He calls it “groaning” – it’s wonderful but difficult.”
I believe that there are two approaches to living well during this interim period between new birth and eternity. The first is to learn to live in total appreciation of the grace of God that has made and continues to make all the difference. And the second is to have our eyes and our affections set on the future fulfillment of all that God has promised His children. By looking back at what God has done, and by looking forward to what we know He will do, we can experience what He is presently doing in a special way.