A Glimpse of a Pain-Free Life

Here is a three-second experience that might encourage you.

I was sitting at my desk slowly reading and praying over Job 29 and 30. The thought came over me that at this moment I am pain-free. In fact, I feel very good. I feel warm and content. Almost cozy. As if in a blanket by a fire on a cold evening with a good book and a friend.

The next thought that came over me—came over is what I mean—was that this pain-free euphoria will not last. My back pain will increase. My joints will stiffen. My eyes will grow dim. My hearing will become more muffled. My memory will weaken. My mind will slow down. My balance will make me stumble. And warm moments like this will decrease to the point where there is only discomfort interrupted with pain.

For a split second there was a deep and threatening sense of loss. A kind of nostalgic sorrow. Not fear, but sadness. The thought of never having these moments again was like a deep ache. But this sense of loss was more of an echo than a sound in its own right. As soon as it came it was fading away.

In its place, came over me—and this too was fleeting, as much as I wanted it to stay—a conquering and freeing sense of what would be true after death. Its primary effect (as odd as this sounds) was to make me feel free from shame at possible ridicule from unbelievers in moments of personal evangelism. This was all within seconds. It was like a fleeting spiritual taste of heaven and the resurrection.

I saw and felt, as through a clicking camera shutter, everlasting pain-free life. Everlasting warmth. Everlasting guilt-free days. Everlasting friendship with the most interesting and caring Person in the universe. Everlasting expectancy, as on a child’s Christmas morning. Everlasting amazement, as at the first sight of the Himalayas. Everlasting tension-free relationships where everyone knows that everyone will take what is said in the true way. Everlasting calamity-free enjoyment of everything good, without any danger of idolatry, because the Source of all good is loved above all.

All this happened in about three seconds.

The taste that is left (poorly recorded here) is strong enough to make me pray: O Lord, pour out your Holy Spirit on me and my family and my church, so that the reality of heaven and the resurrection and the new earth will be known and spiritually seen—if only through shutter speeds of illumination—that in this hope we will be the most anxiety-free, regret-free, grumbling-free, selfishness-free witnesses to the greatness of Christ the world has ever known.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.