Paul inspires us by reminding us that regardless of our circumstances, we have reason for hope and joy.
5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. 6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight— 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.
As believers in God, Jesus, and heaven, it is easy for us to get distracted by what will come. This isn’t to say we shouldn’t look forward to it (as Paul clearly demonstrates here) for it is certainly something worth looking forward to. I talked with a man last week who explained his problem with “the church” as he knows it by visiting quite a few over his lifetime. He said, “everyone always preaches about heaven and what is to come, but they never address the here and now. Heaven is all fine and good but we aren’t there yet. What about right now?”
One of the purposes of the Holy Spirit, as we see here, is to remind us of the glory of God. This is part of His job as “the helper” that Jesus refers to in John. The presence of The Spirit in our lives keeps us secure in our faith and hope. It is how we be of good courage. One of the things that continues to intrigue me about the human condition and having a relationship with God is that I can’t seem to “unbelieve” it. I can’t just choose not to have faith in the existence of God in my life. Certainly, I can deny it, but it doesn’t go away. It would be like refusing to acknowledge that the sky is blue. I could ignore it and speak against it but deep down I know the truth and I can’t unknow it. This is what the Holy Spirit does.
This should be motivating to us! Paul rouses us by telling us that since God is with us in Spirit until we are once again united with Him, then there is nothing to fear or worry about, is there? This is the strange thing about having a relationship with God. It is strange to others because they don’t fully understand. It makes me think back to when my friends and I returned from Iraq for the first time. People ask some dumb questions (from our perspective) and after a little time of talking with our friends and family who weren’t there, it was easy to see that they just don’t understand. They cannot and will not fully understand unless they experience it themselves. Unlike going to war, of course, I try to help others put themselves in a position where they can experience God too because having a close relationship with God is like nothing else in this world. In fact, it isn’t of this world. It’s supernatural.
Non-Christians don’t understand why we sing, read our bibles, and have crackers and juice at church every once in a while. It is hard for people to grasp that we reach out to others not for good standing with God but because of what He has done for us. People don’t understand why we put so much time and effort into worshiping and praising a seemingly absent and invisible God. But it is the promise sealed by the Holy Spirit in us that makes us do it anyway, because we cannot undo what God has already done and we have a supernatural hope that keeps us pushing on when the rest of the world would give up.