“…even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
It is definitely true that God’s blessings and love can be experienced in our lives today. However, it is also true that on this earth we are not exempt from experiencing suffering and pain.
The longer we live on this earth without encountering a lot of suffering, the easier it becomes to forget that this world is broken and that it is not our final destination. Jesus plainly states to his disciples in John 16:33 that in this world you WILL have tribulation. Not might have tribulation but you will have distress, sadness, heartache, anguish, agony, disappointment and more.
So, what are we to hope in when days of suffering turn into months of agony and when months of agony turn into years of pain? And what keeps a person enduring and hoping in God in the midst of long-term suffering?
In Ephesians 2:6-7, Paul speaks of being raised with Christ and being seated with Him in the heavenly places. What does this mean? How can I be with Jesus in heaven and also be very much right here on earth? Well, could it be that both realities are true at the same time. In other words, it could be that I am with Christ in heaven right now and yet I am also right here in Temple City.
I see this teaching by Paul, that we are raised up with Christ and seated with Christ in the heavenly places, as the key to being able to endure and thrive in the midst of adversity and hardship in this world. Yet, I also struggle with it because sometimes it feels like such a far off and other worldly concept.
Anyway, I have not come to any definitive conclusions as to how my life with Christ in the heavenly places practically empowers me to keep moving forward in the midst of suffering. Nevertheless, I am sure His Holy Spirit will teach me. For now we will continue to memorize it and ask Him to teach us and minister the truth of it to our souls. God bless and keep on working at your bible memory!