The future shapes the present
Because we hope in the Lord, that future affects our present. The future shapes what we do in this present world. It shapes what we are to the world in the present.
Paul says we’re going to be with the Lord, always with the Lord. Elsewhere, he says, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. What does it mean to be “with the Lord”? What did it mean to people who were with Him when He walked this earth?
Ask that woman who gave Jesus water at the well. She gave him a drink and he—he touched a nerve. That well became a holy place, didn’t it? She knew who she was, what she’d done. Now she didn’t care. She had to run back into town to tell about Him.
Ask that man who had the devil in him what it meant to be with the Lord. Ask that little boy who had his five loaves and two fish turned into the biggest picnic you ever heard of!
What was it like to be with the Lord? Ask the widow whose only son he raised from the dead smack in the middle of the street. Ask Mary and Martha, who walked with him to the grave, saw the tears roll down his face, heard him shout, Lazarus, come out!—just before the world turned upside down and right side up again.
To be with the Lord makes a difference, doesn’t it? Now, listen, beloved church, we waiting on the Parousia, His coming, His undeniable presence. But, the future is spilling back into the present, isn’t it? Isn’t He already present among us? Of course He is, through the Holy Spirit, who enables us to be like Him to one another and to the world.