1 Peter 1:6 commands be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though the going is rough for a while down here.
Jesus did not promise health and wealth to His people despite what we may see and hear on Christian television these days. Instead, He promised we would have trouble in this world even calling blessed those who suffer for His Name’s sake.
Everywhere else in the world the commitment to Christ includes a very tangible cross but here in North America we think it means a return of every physical or financial loss we have suffered.
As this is not the experience of so many, many fall away or become disenfranchised by Christianity since God did not meet their expectations.
The Christian doctrine promises heaven to all those who have been reconciled to God through faith demonstrated by obedience to Jesus Christ. Heaven will be replaced by a new earth eventually but in both places God reigns supreme as the recognized King and Ruler of all its inhabitants. God, when He is in direct rule, promises a place where peace, life, joy and abundance will exist forever and ever – a place where there will be no more sorrow or tears.
Conversely, those who live in this world ignoring and disobeying God will suffer eternal torment in hell where they will reap forever the desire of their heart: a place absent from the presence of God.
Since these places and realities are as true as God is True, why do Christians think this place should be as good as the next place?
For Christians, this earth is our hell, the place of torment, suffering and difficulty but fortunately for only a moment and in no way to the degree others will live in hell.
Likewise, these are the best of times regardless of the circumstances for those who hate God for no amount of pain and suffering now can compare to the eternal torment coming in their future.
God does not promise the Christian the absence of trouble now but rather His presence to bring us through trouble as He brings us home to His Kingdom where life of greatest pleasure and joy awaits with all those who have gone before us and have loved God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.