Earlier this school year I was reading the book Around the World in 80 Days with my kids. We spent a little time each day reading part of the story. Often the section I was reading any given day would end with a cliff-hanger and my kids would groan when I shut the book and declared it was time to move into Math, Handwriting, or Spanish, depending upon the child.
At one point, I confess, I read ahead while they worked. I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen in the next chapter! My kids found out and pleaded with me to let them know if Mr. Phileas Fogg and Passepartout escaped the plot of Fix and saved the beautiful Aouda. To no avail. I made them wait, even though I didn’t have the discipline to wait myself.
Waiting to hear the end of the story is hard. Sometimes it seems unbearable and we want to read ahead. But most of the time in life, the next chapter isn’t written and we have to live our story before we know how it will end.
I read this great quote the other day.
Everything is going to be okay in the end, if it’s not okay, it’s not the end. — Kate Bartolotta.
How true is that? I don’t know if Kate Bartolotta is a Christian or not, but she has definitely come across truth consistent with Scripture.
It doesn’t always feel true. When I am faced with a frightening diagnosis it doesn’t seem like everything will be OK. When the moments tick by with unrelenting vexation as I wait to hear the outcome of a decision which will set the course of my future it is hard to believe everything will turn out well. When my children seem to conspire to test my patience (or lack thereof) things do not seem fine and it is hard to see how they ever will be.
But scripture promises everything will be okay in the end for those who are found in Christ. I don’t mean things will necessarily work out the way we initially hope in this life, but the certainty of eternity, with all its eternal justice, grace, mercy, and promise mean it really will be okay in the end. And if it is not okay yet, it is only because it is not yet the end.
Maybe this is a little of what Paul was getting at when he said,
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. — 2 Corinthians 4:7-18
The truth of the matter is life is not the way it was supposed to be. If we had not sinned and had not broken relationship with God, if we had not introduced the curse of death into life through our sin we would not live in a fallen world. We would not experience any affliction.
And though it is really, really hard sometimes to understand the deepest affliction I face is light and momentary when compared with the eternal weight of glory, this truth still stands. I was made for eternity, and when I arrive there everything will be okay. And it will finally all make sense. And all the glory will finally be given to God.
Actually it will finally be okay because all of the glory will finally be given to God. After all, that’s where the trouble all started, wasn’t it?