This week I’ve been chewing on letters from two friends in difficult circumstances.  One is dealing with harsh criticism and rejection from friends he is trying to serve.  Another is dealing with harsh opposition from others outside of his work.  My friends are the apostles Paul and Peter.  And I have been chewing on their letters of 1 & 2 Corinthians and 1 & 2 Peter. 
Both Paul and Peter look beyond the horizon of this life and into the next.  And it is there that they find perspective and enough hope to keep them going.  They encourage me to see that this life does not have enough to offer to compensate for the sacrifices that we are called to make.  The balance sheet of costs and rewards will not work out for us in this life. 
This is especially poignant for me today, the 5th anniversary of the death of our son Ian.  His death took part of my heart and mind beyond the grave into the next life, and kept it there.  This is also poignant as I anticipate my 59th birthday.  I do not regard myself as old.  But I am on the side of life where the finish line is coming into view.  And Paul and Peter encourage me to look beyond that finish line into the next life. 
Paul wrote: For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal.  (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)
Peter wrote: Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  (1 Peter 1:13)