Monday, November 14, 2016

Start Your Week in the Word - Why do Christians say "everything will be ok?"

"Everything will be ok."

Has someone ever said that to you, and you felt like they were blowing you off? Not listening? Delusional?

Have you ever said this to someone? Because you meant well and didn't know what else to say? Because you believed it about their situation? Because you believe it about your own situations?

It's ok. I understand. I'm going to tread lightly here, but I'm going to tell you these things that have been laid on my heart for a few weeks now. It took me that long to digest them, turn them over in my hands, and try to take a look from as many angles as I'm capable of. No doubt I missed some.



If you aren't a believer, I'm going to attempt to help you understand why a believer may say this to you.

If you ARE a believer, I'm going to attempt to help you understand why sometimes this isn't helpful - and sometimes it isn't even true (blasphemy! I know, hang with me here, I'll explain).

For a believer, everything will eventually be ok. That doesn't mean in this life. That means in the end, THE end, the very end of everything, for a believer everything will be ok.

Even if things get very ugly in this life ... divorce, cancer, financial ruin, persecution, we can hold fast to the promise that this life is not the end.
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed to us." 
- Romans 8:18
Jesus overcame sin and death to give us a way to the Father. In the end, for a Christian, that is all that matters. Not what happens to us here. How we handle, our countenance during trials, our joyful acceptance and continued praise, points to our faith in Him and is our witness to His greatness even when He doesn't deliver us from our pain.
"In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world." 
- John 16:33
Because everything will be ok in the end, we can comfort ourselves with scriptures like the following:
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for the good ..." 
- Romans 8:28a
But carelessly tossing them for comfort to a lost soul is dangerous. It's like throwing someone a deflated life raft without telling them "Hey, this raft works great ... BUT you do have to put air in it first." Gee, thanks.
"...to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." 
- Romans 8:28b
In reality, for many believers things are NOT ok in this life. We should praise and thank God profusely when things work out well in this life. It is a blessing, not a right. The Gospel is not about worldly prosperity ... if you are poor or sick or unable to have children or lonely ... it doesn't mean your faith is weak or God doesn't love you as much as your healthy, wealthy Christian friend. It means He is working something eternal that you aren't going to understand yet, so you can praise Him anyways. It WILL eventually be ok.
"'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." 
- Jeremiah 29:11
For the believer, there is always hope.

Not so for the nonbeliever. The hope is there for them, a free gift, a gracious offering on their behalf. But if they have not accepted that gift ... they absolutely have no reason to hope.

Tim was reading me something a few days ago about a woman terrified that, because of the election results, her life was going to be shortened by 40 years due to climate change.

For a nonbeliever, this kind of fear is very real. If you choose to reject Christ, this life is as good as it gets. While I do not want to be cruel, I want to be honest enough to say that yes ... disease, famine, death should be as frightening as hell. Because that is what the future holds in the end without Christ.

That is a situation without hope.

Don't get me wrong ... this life can be so good! But there is MORE coming for believers than we can imagine!
So for me to toss a grieving, groaning, crying nonbeliever a nonchalant "everything will be ok" isn't helpful. Everything will be ok for me ... when Christ returns. If you continue to reject Him things will never be ok. And screaming, mourning, a bemoaning the hardships of this world is not uncalled for because this IS as good as it gets without Him.

This vibrant life is but a shadow of what is to come when we get to be face to face with God.
Even if you don't have hardship ... are the fame, fortune, titles, career ladders, bank accounts, vehicles ... do they feel empty? Are they fulfilling? If this life is going to be as good as it gets, and those things aren't filling you up ... it might be a good time to at least consider if that is how all of this really works. Because without Jesus nothing will be ok.

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