In the morning when I wake up, I find myself assessing what hurts and what doesn’t hurt. I have been battling chronic issues for over a year now and each week seems to add another layer to the process. I have seen specialists, my primary physician, had multiple tests, and nothing has come back with the AHA moment to explain what is wrong. It has been a frustrating and tiring time for me and my family. I still have more doctor appointments and follow up appointments to have as well. My hope is that some time soon, I will have a name for the problem. In the mean time, I take the medications I have been prescribed and muddle through.
I have friends and family who have battled various cancers, too many of whom have lost their battles. I have watched a dear friend figure out how to go forward when her husband died of a sudden heart attack. Marriages have broken up over infidelity, children suddenly left with one parent after the other walked out. I have had former students struggle with addictions and depression, each day is a decision of falling down or getting up.
It is overwhelming to see all of the pain and heartache and not be able to go in and fix it with my own hands. It seems hopeless, that the game is over, the fat lady has sung, and it’s time to stop trying. Then I hear a whisper, My timetable is not your timetable. I know what the outcomes will be, when it will be over, and how much more there is to come. Believe that I have this situation well in My hands. Trust me.
Second Peter, chapter 3, is full of this kind of thinking. Peter writes what will be his last letter before being executed by Nero’s regime. If anyone would be able to understand hopelessness, it would be him. But that’s not how Peter writes. Instead he tells the fellow believers to remember that what God sees and what we see aren’t the same. There is a separation here on earth that we cannot breach. When people tell us to forget about God’s plan or challenge us for being foolish to believe God has a bigger view of things than we do, we must come back and read these words.
“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day,” (2 Peter 3:3-8 NASB, bold mine).
In other words, it’s not over yet. The scoffers, critics, complainers, etc. may tell you that there is nothing good that will ever come out of your battle. Your faith is just a crutch, that you are a fool to believe that God has a bigger view and plan than what you can see right now. I admit, that the hardest part of this is when the scoffers don’t see the outcome. When you can’t lord over them when the clock runs down and you are the winner.
You see, sometimes God’s plan and outcome are for the other side of Heaven. The person whose cancer has been going on for so long, may be healed– but it might be in God’s presence, not yours. Or the chronic health issue, may be something that God allows in your life for a purpose He understands and knows, but you don’t. Which begs the question, if you can’t see the outcome here on earth, in your time, will you still believe? Will you still trust? Can you allow your faith to grow, knowing that you won’t know it all before Heaven?
O Best Beloved, please know that I am not speaking platitudes. Life is hard, even with faith. What I do want to encourage you with is this, redemption, restoration, renewal, everything our souls long for will be made true through Christ. The hope we have to get out of bed in the morning, is a small portion of the Hope we have in God. The trust we have to believe that one day God will make right what has been taken away from us by sin and death in this life.
Peter ends his second letter with these words, But grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen (2 Peter 3:18). With all that Peter did not know and understand of God’s purposes and plan, he did know that growing in our faith was what mattered. No matter the battle, the struggle, the sorrow, the loss. May it be so with us.
To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen, indeed.