Some day all men, Christians and unbelievers alike, will see life in retrospect, in the light of eternity and without the limitations of time.
For the Christian retrospect will mean the vindication of faith, and anticipation will become realization. Mysteries will merge into understanding; the baffling reflection in the mirror of the world’s experience will be clarified as we see reality face to face.
We all will be amazed at how seemingly trivial incidents will be revealed as God-devised turning points in our lives, while many things we have thought so important will be seen as mere trivialities.
Many seeming disasters will be seen as blessings, delays as of God’s appointing, frustrations as the restraints of his loving hand.
Probably our greatest surprise will be at our own obtuseness—our failure to accept and live by the clear teachings of God’s Word.
We will discover that the Apostle Paul was not indulging in a flight of fancy when he said, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). This truth will be seen to be the dominating principle of God’s dealings with his own.
In retrospect the Christian will echo the Psalmist’s words, “I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me” (Ps. 119:75).
When we look back on our lives, the words of Psalm 103 will come spontaneously from our lips and hearts.
Another of the Christian’s reactions in his retrospect will be recognition of his failure to appreciate the supernatural forces with which he has been surrounded in this life. Then he will see the unseen and believe that of which only too often he has been oblivious; “the angel of the Lord” who has encamped around him, delivering him in time of peril, will be appreciated.
Spiritual vision will be given so that we, like Elisha’s servant, will see God’s hosts which have surrounded us again and again. We will cry’ out, “Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? who can show forth all his praise? (Ps. 106:2).
Who? Who can do just that? Right now we, the redeemed by faith. Then, the redeemed in retrospect.
If such a view in retrospect will be ours, surely we should live in its anticipation! Why stay so bound to the world that we lose sight of the heavenly prospect?
There is an old saying that “some people are so heavenly minded they are of no earthly use.” But it is our observation that those most concerned about eternity are now doing the most for the world. Humanism is not making the world better, but only a more pleasant place in which to serve the Devil.
How then should the Christian live? Eternity, heaven, should be so real that something of its glory should shine in his face and the splendor of its anticipation make others long to know the Way.
In the light of our heritage there are certain things which should characterize our faith. The love of God should dominate our attitude—to him and to those with whom we have to deal. Out of that love there has been poured his mercy, even the faith with which we believe being a gift of his grace.
Christians only too often live like spiritual beggars. On the one hand we fail to recognize his provision, and on the other we do not claim his promises.
Right now our perspective should be heavenly, not of this world. Instead of groping with the myopia of spiritual ignorance, we should walk in the 20/20 vision of God-given insight. Rather than stumbling over imagined handicaps, we should see them as stepping-stones to a closer walk with our Lord.
Only the Christian has communion with the God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Only the Christian has been redeemed by the Christ who was, who is, and who is to come. Why then live and act like orphans? Living in the sureness of God’s foreknowledge, omnipotence, and sovereignty, what more could mortal man ask?
Retrospect will surely give us a new understanding of the magnitude of God’s forgiveness in Christ. We will see our sins in the light of his countenance and be lost in the wonder of his redeeming love. The picture we will see of ourselves will destroy every vestige of pride and also explain why nothing less than the death of God’s Son could make us acceptable in his sight.
We who have too often taken God for granted, who have never sensed his holiness, will suddenly see him as he is and fall prostrate before him.
When we see the Holy Scriptures in retrospect we will be amazed, and we will understand what our Lord meant when he said, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25). We will wonder how men ever dared to sit in judgment on the written Word.
With the glorious prospect of the Christian, and the restrospection which will be ours at faith’s fruition, what manner of men should we be right now? While the world is vainly looking for security, hope, assurance, rest, knowledge of truth, we have them now. While others look to the created, we look to the Creator. While others are looking for answers, we know the One who is the ultimate Answer. While others talk about reality, we have the only one who is real. While others seek assurance, we can say with the Apostle Paul, “I know whom I have believed. I know he is able. I know that my faith is not misplaced.”
The world is hungry for such a faith to live by, but it is usually looking in the wrong direction. We who are Christians can demonstrate by our unswerving faith that we are looking for “a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God”—and we can help others look for it too.
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