By: Gary L. Hutchens
“These are trying times.” How often have you heard this statement? Have you ever wondered who first said this and to what times he was referring? Obviously, he was referring to the times in which he lived. When do you suppose that was, and what, specifically, prompted him to say it? Well, it’s a fairly subjective statement, so he could have been talking about any of a whole host of matters. I have no idea, but I suspect it has been repeated for centuries, perhaps for millennia.
In making this statement, one person might be thinking about turmoil, strife and war in the world. Another person might be referring to crime and violence in the streets. Somebody else might say it because of economic hard times in the society in which he lives. Still another might refer to natural disasters such as a hurricanes, tornados, floods or droughts. Others might be motivated by personal hard times due to disease or injury or job loss. Still others might be dealing with family problems or legal troubles. It could be most anything that could prompt a negative emotion within a given individual.
I remember asking a brother in Christ many years ago how things were going. His answer was close to these words: “Life’s a rat race, and sometimes I think the rats are winning!” Now some folks might think that brother had a bad attitude, and maybe he did. But what do we really expect from life in this world?
Are we looking for total fulfillment and happiness in this life? Do we expect there to come a day in this world when there will be no more wars, no more conflicts, no more strife? Will the world economy become such that there will never be another recession or depression or economic slow down? Will we someday be able to control the weather and eliminate storms, floods and drought? Will there be a time here when nobody will get sick or die or suffer an injury? Will there come a day when every person will have a job?
Of course the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “NO, not in this world!” Truthfully, during any time someone is alive in this world is a trying time. There’ll never be a time here when everything is peachy keen. This is a tough place filled with pain, hardship suffering, sickness, dying, strife, violence and hatred, and it always will be so. And, yes, there are some rats running around in human skin. This is not utopia. But this world is not what life is all about. We’ll not find ultimate happiness here. This world is not where our main focus should be (1 Jn. 2:15-17).
We should stay focused on Heaven (Matt. 6:19-21). That’s where we’re headed. That’s where all of those negatives mentioned earlier will not exist (Rev. 7:16-17; 21:4). That’s where we’ll realize ultimate peace, fulfillment and happiness. This world is forever tarnished by sin, but Heaven is the eternal home of those saved from sin. Because we know what’s waiting for us in Heaven, we can enjoy life here (Jn. 10:10), but life here will never compare to Heaven (2 Cor. 5:1-4). Let’s never forget where we’re going. Let’s keep our focus…
Gary L. Hutchens