Awhile ago I went for coffee downtown with one of my friends I will call Nancy. She is a busy mom with much, much to do day by day.

Nancy is not a complainer – not at all. But she was frustrated. God has been good to her. That is not the issue. But, she said, the fact is that the specific goals she has had for her life in ways both large and small have never been possible for her.

We agreed that God seems to give much more frustration to some Christians than to others. It is a fact that God will eventually put you ‘to death’ one way or the other through sorrow and disappointment. But with some this comes through a thousand cuts. With others through a few major strokes.

And, of course, God’s goal is that we rise up in the power of Christ. Life from death. Adversity presents you with constant choice. Either you dig deeper, or you become bitter. And the process, in God’s hands, results in godly character.

We had no disagreement about this. We have both lived too long. But her heart’s cry was still but why?

I thought about it and I said, “Nancy, I think it is all vocational training. From all eternity, God has had a particular position he has wanted you to fill in the New Heavens and the New Earth. He has designed you specifically for it. And this is the preparation qualifying you for it.

This is a peopley future, not an angelic one – real resurrected you in a real and perfected earth-heaven unity. You will have all of eternity to express unused talents, pursue goals of service, delight in creaturely joys, that give us such purpose and satisfaction. Those pleasures can never be taken from you. They are only deferred.”

She knew this, of course. She just had to hear it from someone else…’Brothers, remind one another of these things…’

Still my heart hurt for her. It is hard to live with chronic frustration.

But God gave us laughter at the end of our hours together.

Nancy had left just time enough to pick up one of her daughters and drive her from one location to another. We agreed that she would drop me off where I had parked, so we went to her vehicle together and got in.

We got seatbelts on and were ready to drive off when – she saw that she was completely trapped- couldn’t move in any direction. There was a car parked right in front, a car parked right behind, and a truck boxing her in alongside while he made local deliveries.

We looked at each other and began to laugh and laugh. What a perfect picture of all she had been telling me about.

And, yes, she was late picking up her daughter.