It has been said about the Christian gospel that it’s all “Pie in the sky when you die by and by”. That is, life is tough now, but good things await us when we return to our heavenly home. Sometimes this is levelled as a criticism of Christians- that we’re all wishful thinkers without a clear sense of reality.
Possibly in response to that accusation, there’s been a movement in Christian thinkers in recent years to talk up the blessings we experience through a relationship with God in the here and now and to downplay talk of the hereafter.
Now I don’t want to dismiss altogether the notion that God might bless us here on Earth, but it’s hard to get past the biblical presentation of the gospel being primarily a future hope. As Paul wrote to the Romans, “Now in this hope we were saved, yet hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees?” (Romans 8:24), and as the writer to the Hebrews said, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1) As Christians we look forward, trusting in God, to His certain delivery on His promises.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that this future hope, this looking forward to the great and final deliverance, is actually the greatest blessing bestowed on God’s people in the here and now. It is only because we know what awaits us beyond that we are able to navigate this valley of travails that is life on Earth, pressing on to the goal we know awaits us in eternity with our Lord God.