The inimitable and inspiring C. H. Spurgeon once said, “Oftentimes when I have been travelling on the Continent I have been obliged to put up at an hotel that was full, where the room was so inconvenient, that it scarcely furnished any accommodation at all. But we have said, ‘Oh, never mind: we are off in the morning! What matters it for one night?’ So, as we are soon to be gone, and the time of our departure is at hand, let us not be ruffling our tempers about trifles, nor raise evil spirits around us by cavilling and finding fault. Take things as you find them, for we shall soon be up and away.”
Spurgeon’s perspective is a good one! Why should Christians get all stressed out or bummed out over this temporary life, with its many discomforts and difficulties, when we know that we shall soon be up and away to heaven and the Father’s house, either by death or the Rapture (John 14:1–6). Our stay and suffering in this life is, comparatively speaking, for one night only when contrasted to the long tomorrow of eternity and the pleasures forevermore that we will enjoy at the right hand of God (Psalm 16:11). The reality is that our weeping may endure for a night—but only a night—and then there will come that morning without sunset in the presence of God (Psalm 30:5). Spurgeon, the great English Baptist, is challenging us—in the face of poor health, loneliness, satanic attack, adverse circumstances, betrayal, and threats—to say, “Oh, never mind: we are off in the morning! What matters it for one night?”
In fact, as I reflected on this challenge, I was reminded of several places in the Bible where this perspective of passing sorrow and permanent joy, of a bad night giving way to a better day, is to be found. In Romans 8:18, Paul reminds us that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” In 2 Corinthians 4:17, Paul reminds us that “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a[n] . . . eternal weight of glory.” In 1 Peter 1:6–7, Peter reminds us, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Read those verses again, and you will see that this life is but a “little while,” a “moment” compared to eternity in heaven with Christ. In a very real sense, then, our life—with all its losses and crosses—compared to our afterlife, is like putting up with a dirty, dingy, damp, and dark hotel room for one night. Spurgeon is right. Regardless of the pain, the tears, the heartache, and the dark night of the soul: “Oh, never mind: we are off in the morning! What matters it for one night?”
We need the perspective of a boy I read about who shattered his back at age one and endured thirteen years in the hospital before he was seventeen. When asked if he was bitter with God, he replied, “God’s got all eternity to make it up to me.” And God will!