Afflictions are preparing for us a "more abundant entrance," a weightier crown, a whiter robe, a sweeter rest, a home made doubly precious by a long exile and many sufferings here below. However desperate our earthly warfare may be, it is not forever. No, it is brief, very brief. Its end is near, very near. And with the end come triumph, and honor, and songs of victory. Then, too, there follows peace, and the return of the war-worn soldier to his quiet dwelling. This is the joy of the saint. He has fought a good fight, he has finished the course, he has kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for him the crown of righteousness. His battle is over, and then for him there are rest and home. Home! Yes, home! And what a home for us to return to and abide in forever! A home prepared before the foundation of the world. A home in the many mansions. A home nearest the throne and heart of God. A home whose peace shall never be broken by the sound of war or tempest. A home whose brightness shall never be overcast by the remotest shadow of a cloud.
How solacing to the weary spirit to think of a resting-place so near, and that resting-place our Father's house where we shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, where the sun shall not scorch us, nor any heat, where the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall feed us and lead us to living fountains of waters, and God Himself shall wipe away all tears from our eyes!
The time is at hand. The conflicts are almost over. Our struggles and sorrows are nearly done. A few more years, and we shall either be laid quietly to rest, or caught up into the clouds to meet our coming Lord. A few more deaths, and then we shall be knit together in eternal brotherhood with all the scattered members of the family. A few more suns shall rise and set, and then we shall ascend in its strength the one unsetting sun. A few more days shall dawn and darken, and then shall shine forth the one unending day. A few more clouds shall gather over us, and then the world shall be cleared forever. But a few brief years, and we shall enter in through the gates into the city, sitting down beneath the shadow of the tree of life, feeding upon the hidden manna, and drinking of the pure river clear as crystal, which proceeds out of the throne of God and of the Lamb! Bu a few brief years and we shall see His face, and His name shall be upon our foreheads!
We have only the foretaste now. The full brightness is in reserve, and we know that all that is possible or conceivable of what is good and fair and blessed shall one day be real and visible. Out of all evil there comes the good; out of sin comes holiness; out of darkness, light; out of death, life eternal; out of weakness, strength; out of the fading, the blooming; out of rottenness and ruin, loveliness and majesty; out of the curse come the blessing, the incorruptible, the immortal, the glorious, the undefiled! Our present portion, however, is but the pledge, not the inheritance. The inheritance is reserved for the appearing of the Lord. Here we see but through a glass darkly. It does not yet appear what we shall be.
We are now but as wayfaring men, wandering in the lonely night, who see dimly upon the distant mountain peak the reflection of a sun that never rises here, but which shall never set in the "new heavens" hereafter. And this is enough. It comforts and cheers us on our dark and rugged way. It would not be enough hereafter, but it is enough just now. This wilderness will do for us until we cross into Canaan. The tent will do until the eternal city comes. The joy of believing is enough until we enter on the joy of seeing. We are content with the "mountain of myrrh, and the hill of frankincense," until "the day breaks and the shadows flee away."