As I sat in a cozy living room, with friends - who like leather or chili or cheese, or wine I imagine - get better over time, we shared our answers to this question: what's a pivotal, game-changing thing you've learned since coming to know Christ?
More than one of us shared this:
Our lives are eternal. This isn't it.
We are a vapor. (James 4:14)
And this place - it's not our home.
We are merely strangers, aliens. (1 Peter 2:11)
Setting up tents, not homes of brick and mortar.
WE KNOW THE END OF THE STORY.
(the whole book of Revelation)
We know Jesus wins.
Death is dead.
We are alive.
And we will be able to see Christ for who he truly is. (1 John 3:1)
For me, this reality began a couple years ago with Romans 5:5 - "Hope does not disappoint."
Referring to the hope we have in the glory of God in verse two.
This is our only hope both in life and death.
In the end, everything that's not Christ will ultimately fail us.
As I studied through 2 Timothy - a book I thought I "knew" - this summer, I realized that the only reason Paul could tell Timothy not to fear, to keep on fighting even through suffering was because on that Day it will be worth it.
And there's story after Old Testament story of people. Real flesh and blood people. Who lived with eternity in mind.
Abraham. He was willing to go. (Genesis 12:1-4)
He was willing to leave behind everything he knew to be calm and comfortable because he knew in the end it would be worth it.
David. It's why he could say "whom shall I fear?" (Psalm 27:1) in the midst of being chased by enemies and adversaries and false witnesses, all the while being forsaken by his parents (Psalm 27:10). He wasn't crushed by that because he was so convinced of this: "...in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Psalm 16:11)
And ultimately Jesus.
"For the joy set before him endured the cross." (Hebrews 12:2)
He knew something far better awaited. And it would be WORTH IT.
Believing, trusting that something far better awaits. Something that will be infinitely forever.
And knowing we marred by sin, living in a sinful world, corrupted by Satan - all of which is temporary - makes the hard stuff palatable.
It's what makes bearing a child with birth defects bearable.
It's what makes life after losing your 31 year old husband, leaving you with five tiny children, livable.
For me, it's how I deal with criticism.
Late nights. Lots of emails.
The idea I may never marry or have kids.
Or that this graphic design business thing might bust.
The hope is here:
That we - I - have an anchor for my soul. (Hebrews 6:19)
The hope of eternal life with Christ. Forever.
None of the weary, wicked things in this world - just Jesus.
So life can seem like a whole bunch of losing.
"God knows what he's doing in our losses." Piper says.
And the thing is. They aren't really losses.
They're all gains.
All the suffering. All the sadness.
Because we get Christ either way.
We get sanctified or sent home.
For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21.
And this message given by John Piper at the Desiring God Conference has been a reminder to me of all these things. And just like the friends and leather and chili and cheese and wine, this too keeps getting better with time.