“Nothing, you see, is impossible with God”
(Luke 1:36, MSG)
I’m not a big fan of surprises and hate suspense. With the end of the regular TV season upon us, I’ve recorded the season finales of a few shows and will let them sit unwatched until September. That way I can watch the season finale in all of its suspenseful glory and then immediately watch the resolution that typically occurs in the first 5 minutes of the new season. Spending an entire summer not knowing how a story ends is not my idea of a good time.
I do it with books, too. If a character is in jeopardy, I’ll flip ahead a few pages to see if his name still occurs in the text (he must still be alive) and then turn back to continue the story from where I left off. I’ve been known to read the last page of a book first and then flip back to the beginning. In most cases, I’ll still read the book the whole way through, but I can do it without tension or nervousness and am therefore more able to enjoy the story with some leisure and appreciate the actual writing. At least, that’s my excuse. My husband, however, says “I destroy the dramatic integrity of the author.”
Outside of the fictional world, I’m still no fan of cliffhangers. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I can live with my eternal future already determined. I can easily skip to the end of The Book, read the final chapters and then happily mosey through the rest of the story, looking forward always to the “blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
In some ways, though, my eternal destination is the easy part. It’s the suspense of day-to-day living that makes me want to “skip to the end” at times. Once in middle school I lost my math book for a few days. Fearing my teacher’s wrath (this mild-mannered, soft-spoken Algebra teacher of mine), I prayed at night, letting God know that it would be a great time for Jesus to come back and requesting that He please end my misery by whisking me off to heaven. The rapture obviously did not occur in order to meet my middle school needs. Instead, I had to tell my teacher that my book was missing and all of my nightmares and worst fears abated when my math book reappeared on my desk the next day, having been discovered in the school lost and found.
That night I spent without my math book, though, was a horror of suspense for me. What exactly would happen? How would this all work out?
Maybe you, like me, have asked some of these questions, no longer about lost math books, but now about your children, your marriage, your finances, your job, your ministry, your future. Is everything going to turn out okay? What is going to happen next? Will things work out the way I want them to?
When I find myself asking these questions, I’ve learned to stop and ponder these things:
Part I: Put It In Perspective:
As a teacher, I had occasional extra duties outside the classroom, including morning drop-off. One morning, a petite third-grade girl ran up to me in hysterics. I thought someone had died, certainly some horrible tragedy had occurred in her home. It seemed like a true crisis.
“Oh, baby girl,” I said as I held her hand and dropped to my knees so I could look in her eyes, “it’s okay. Maybe we’ll call your mom for your lunch. Maybe we’ll get you lunch from the cafeteria. Either way, you don’t need to worry.”
Immediately, I felt that deep prompting of the Holy Spirit asking me, “How often have you cried in despair over a crisis that is as easy-to-fix in My sight as a forgotten lunch bag?” This little girl didn’t have any hope, she couldn’t see any remedy or solution on her own, but when she gave the problem to me, I resolved it within seconds.
It’s not that God brushes aside our pain as childish or that the trials that leave us broken and hurting are foolish and unimportant to God. Not at all. Yet, it’s so easy to lose perspective because the issues we face in this world are sometimes big, certainly too much for us to handle and it’s hard to have hope when circumstances seem hopeless.
Consider some of the “cliffhangers” in Scripture for a brief moment:
- Moses and the entire nation of Israel stood on the banks of the Red Sea, rushing water in front of them, Pharaoh’s army in hot pursuit behind them. Would God rescue them from the enemy and bring them to freedom?
- Daniel spent all night alone in a dark den of hungry lions and the king himself burst out of bed at the first light of dawn and rushed to the cave to see if Daniel had survived the night. Was he still alive down there?
- The three men stood before the fiery furnace, watching as the guards carrying them to the edge of the flames burnt to ashes. Would God save them from the furnace?
- Esther marched into the throne room uninvited by the king in order to beg for mercy for her people, knowing that her boldness could get her killed. Would the king allow her to live and grant her request?
These aren’t scenarios of lost math books or forgotten lunches. They are life and death matters in the worst possible physical circumstances. They were impossible situations with insurmountable odds. So then what happened?
What happened was God. Yes, these problems weren’t trivial or small, petty or frivolous to the people in them. But, as difficult as our life may be or as dark and scary as the unknown appears, what happens in our Christian walk will always be with God.
When we stand on the precipice of unknown, feeling the knots in our stomach, fretting at night rather than sleeping, wondering what will happen next, we hand that situation over to God and then remember:
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us
(Ephesians 3:201-21, MSG).
“Nothing, you see, is impossible with God” (Luke 1:36, MSG)
Even in the biggest trials, we must remember how big our God is.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2011 Heather King