There are problems and frustrations that are mislabeled grace.
And then there are problems with no grace in sight — tragedies and anxieties that have ripped our hearts in half, bleeding our love and perseverance out on to the floor. We lie awake, consumed with fear or regret.
Sometimes, making all the right choices can’t overcome the curse of sin and the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Sometimes, even the most precious sacrifices don’t make promises last.
For this, we have only this hope and response:
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:1-2).
We seek the things that are above, we set our minds on things above.
Two things we see here:
1. Peace doesn’t come naturally.
Seek and set — these are action verbs, willful verbs, working verbs. We feel guilty, thinking “things above” should be our natural default — that we should be satisfied in Christ as our response to heartache and fear.
Instead, we must start thinking we can be this way — that a heart set on things above is available to us. Should be shuts down our can be every time. Guilt is a dead end. It suffocates possibility.
But we who have been raised with Christ have hope of new thoughts and renewed minds through grace and the Spirit. We must seek and set — we must work for them — hunting for them like treasure, memorizing and speaking His words, exercising our minds and lips for the sake of our souls. We must take battle steps to beat back and turn down the commercial promises and fearful news reports and social comparisons of this world, replacing them with truth.
Should be shuts down our can be every time. Guilt is a dead end. It suffocates possibility.
Most thoughts that just fall into our heads deserve to be chained and enslaved — taken captive and made obedient to the eternal truth of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). We must talk to ourselves, not just listen to ourselves, or to the latest thing to come across our screen.
We must fight.
2. Our hearts don’t belong here.
We have been raised with Christ; we are now eternally alive with Him. He sits in the place of authority — not just a physical location, but a spiritual one, outside of time — “above” — the better country where all things have already been made right (Hebrews 11:6).
No wonder it hurts when we try to tug our hearts back down to this broken ground.
This earth is not the truth, not the story, not the end. It teases us just enough to make us think we belong, till hurt exposes its limitations and lies. Sometimes we try to do everything right, and it all still goes painfully wrong.
But this pain brings secret beauty in disguise — the freedom-truth that this world can never make us whole.
For when we believe this world has no power to make us full, we also know it can never make us empty.
Our blessings do not equal hope, and our brokenness cannot equal destruction. Each are meant only as taste of glory — a glimpse of eternal joy, or a silent, aching whisper that to be with Christ is better by far (Philippians 1:23).
Forever is the only thing that offers true rest. Every laugh, every tear, every cell has been crafted to point me to the One who loves me most — the One has gone before me, at the right hand of God in the land that does not disappoint.
We who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf (Hebrews 6:18-20).