I have two friends who are suffering physically and mentally. One suffers excruciating pain down her right leg as the result of a stroke. The other is bipolar and refuses to take any medication for it. Both insist that God heal them directly. So far he hasn’t even though they pray fervently for it.
Both suffer from believing a lie. That type of mental anguish is worse than the physical ailment. This lie is dispensed every Sunday in church like the drinks at the coffee bar. It’s called having your best life now. It’s a theology of glory. God is supposed to keep us healthy, wealthy, and satisfied Christians.
But God has promised no such thing this side of heaven. What we long for – perfect health, perfect harmony in our relationships, perfect families and perfect joy – will be a reality when we’re living in the new heavens and the new earth, but not here.
While the longings of our hearts are right, our timing is off. This is the wilderness we’re trudging through, just like the Israelites did. Canaan was their destination, not some plot of sand with a well and a palm tree. Like them, we are headed to where all our longings will be fulfilled, but at the moment we keep our sandals on and keep walking.
The only one who had his best life was Jesus because he lived in heaven. But he willingly left that behind to live his worst life for 33 years. There’s reason why Isaiah describes him as a Man of Sorrows. We never read of Jesus laughing or telling a joke. He lived with suffering every day. The worst kind in the rejection of his own people he came to save. Day in and day out he suffered with people’s unbelief and hatred.
He owned nothing except the clothes on his back. He went hungry. He wept. And yet with this example we’re taught to expect God to give us everything he never gave his Son.
We hate living ordinary lives. We crave notoriety, we demand to live our potential, we love unearthing the divine spark within. Except there’s nothing biblical in any of it. It’s worldliness disguised as philosophical fast food.
The only Person who lived up to his potential was Jesus. We can’t because sin holds us back.
The only One whose life was not ordinary was Jesus’s. Ours are routine and unexceptional every day.
The One who lived by God’s every law was Jesus thereby meriting heaven. We live to break every law and merit hell.
Knowing this, we still demand our best life now. It’s insanity. No wonder we’re depressed and despairing.
The only course correction is to read the bible with fresh eyes and ask God for new understanding of life under heaven. Who is with me?
Talk to me.