So my title is a little misleading...you may have it all one day, just not in this lifetime. As I was considering how things are never perfect in this life, I thought that maybe this was in God's design. We live in a fallen world, a fact that is overwhelmingly apparent. But if everything was perfect here and now, would we long for a better place? As it is now, though, we do pine for perfection, and not only us, but all creation:
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.
- Romans 8:22-23
So not only does our existence in an imperfect world hone and refine our character (mentioned in part 1), it also spurs us on to a greater destiny as we hope for a life in a place where peace truly and purely exists.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
- Ecclesiastes 3:11
That verse sounds so epic to me, but I believe it. We all long for the end of war, grief, pain, suffering, death. And we even fight for it in the pursuit of justice.
Then I saw "a new heaven and a new earth," for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
- Revelation 21:1-4
That is what we all long for: the restoration of all things and actual communion with God. It was set in our hearts and wired into our being, and I would argue that many of our pursuits in life are just misled ambition towards this one goal. But does this mean we should just let the world go down in flames while we wait for God to set all this good stuff up? No!
Jesus spoke with urgency about the kingdom of God being here, now:
The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!"
- Mark 1:15
From the time of John the Baptizer until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful people have been seizing it.
- Matthew 11:12
Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is in your midst."
- Luke 17:20-21
And we are His workers.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."
- Matthew 9:36-38
So we'll never "have it all" on earth, but only because God loves us too much! We can work with God, however, in ushering in His kingdom, which is really the place where the longing of our hearts will actually find fulfillment. This work is here and now, and though it is not yet complete, it is satisfying.
I'd be interested to see what people think about these posts, as it deals with speculation about the future, mixed with expectations of now. Does this match your experience and/or theology?