“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’” (Isaiah 46:10, NIV2)
Reading is one of my favorite pastimes. I have numerous books, so many that my wife tells me I should open my own library. For some reason, I never throw any of them away, unless they are truly valueless. I know, this makes moving quite a heavy task, one to dread. Ouch! My back!
Some books, however, speak more clearly to my heart than others, and these are the most precious of all.
All of these books have one thing in common: The end is set before we begin start reading them. The outcome has already been determined by the pen of the author, and all depending upon the actions of the characters, they either end up in triumph or in utter defeat.
Despite the fact that authors usually know the final outcome long before the book is completed, they often give their characters opportunities to redeem themselves. These are the books I truly cherish, for they remind me of how God truly is. Despite everything that has happened in the history of the Earth, He still yearns that all of us be saved for eternity. That’s His greatest wish!
The problem is that most of us are hard of hearing! “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9, NIV2)
Even more acutely than any author, God knows the end from the beginning, and He is there to sustain us through whatever mountaintops of joy or valleys of suffering (See the book of Job) that our journey takes us through. What fills me with hope is that He knows my end from the beginning. In other words, I have nothing, absolutely nothing to worry about, even if, like an object caught up in the flow of a draining sink, my health is failing and my life is falling apart.
Jesus Himself can vouch for that, too. Though He knew what would happen to Him, the only time He was anxious about Calvary was just moments before His arrest. And even this anxiety was temporary. Jesus knew His end from the beginning. He knew that in all reality, it wasn’t the “end” at all! It was truly only the beginning!
“We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” (Matthew 20:18-19, NIV2)
How did He do it?
Though His heart was completely devoted to saving us all, and though He would have done it to save even just one of us, I am certain that Jesus was much more focused on the resurrection part than on the suffering part.
If Jesus died so unselfishly for us, if He then was raised up, just as He promised, then those who truly believe can be guaranteed that eternity awaits us as well! “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.” (1 Corinthians 6:14, NIV2)
The apostle Paul could vouch for this, as He, too, was looking forward to seeing Jesus face to face: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21, NIV2)
Because God knows our end from the beginning, we have truly nothing to fear. We may not always like what we are going through, especially if suffering is involved, but we don’t need to be obsessed by our circumstances, for these will soon be over! Jesus has planned our new home for eternity, and all of our tribulations on earth are but temporary inconveniences, trials that can be likened to a blink of the eye when compared to eternity with our Forever Friend.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18, NIV2)
All is for a reason, everything is destined to be an opportunity for us to begin trusting God completely.
Hey! I am moving tomorrow. Would you have some free time to help me move all these books?
(To access the entire “When Suffering Knocks on our Door” devotional series, please click here.)