|Thanks sweet Nova for the photo!|
Anyway, on the rare occasion when I do find myself reading a novel, I often read a few pages in the first chapter, then right as things get exciting, or scary, or as I start to feel anxious about the main character's situation... I skip to the end of the book and read the last chapter. I can see some of you shaking your head at me on this one... I know... I'm totally ruining the ending. But the thing for me is that the ending is everything. If I know that things turn out alright, then I can confidently go back to the beginning and read the whole thing through. I am so emotional that knowing how it all ends doesn't actually hinder me from laughing or crying as the story unfolds. But by knowing the end I feel a sense of peace, that even when the plot thickens and my heart races with anticipation, all will still be well, because the ending is a good one.
And if the ending is a bad one.... well... sorry book... but I'm not actually interested in finishing you. My heart is carrying far too much to add another sad story to the list of things I think about. So I put the book down and that's the end of that.
The way I read is a lot like the way I live. I need hope. I need confidence that the ending is a good one. If I'm unsure of that, I find myself tempted to quit. In times of hopelessness and doubt, it is not long before I start questioning everything, and ultimately I find myself wishing the book of my life would be a short one. I am not telling you that I am suicidal. Though I have been there before. But what I am saying is that when I am uncertain of the ending, the voice of fear gets louder, my load gets heavier, and my perspective becomes submerged in a cloud of darkness. Sounds dramatic... but friends... I'm being honest. The end of the story is everything to me.
Yesterday I was thinking about how God used Moses to lead His people out of the slavery they had been under in Egypt. At one point we see God actually allow a crisis to overtake His people, so that He can deliver them out of it, and through it reveal His glory to them AND to everyone who sees it.
God prepares Moses for this endeavor by actually telling him that it is about to go down. He basically says -Listen Moses, you guys are about to be pursued by the Egyptians (AT THE POINT MOSES IS SHAKING IN HIS SANDALS because naturally this means he and his Israelite pals are about to die), but God continues... "I will gain honor over Pharaoh and all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord." That's it. Moses knows the end of the story. And we already know, that changes everything.
So as the people of God are being chased down by the jokers from Egypt, Moses confidently encourages them by saying, "The Lord your God will fight for you, you need only to be still."
Small detail... he didn't exactly mean "be still"... God's next step for them was actually to walk through the Red Sea as God split it in half. Talk about "walking by faith". But they could do it! Because they knew the end of the story!
And I realized yesterday that we know the end of the story too! I know it. The end of my story is a good one. One of eternity with a God that delights in me and a Savior that has set me free from the penalties of my sin. The shame of my shortcomings is gone, because He knows my heart and every stinkin time I blow it... and yet He still loves me and calls me pure.
I also know that my future is good because my GOOD God told me in His word, "I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
He also says, "For we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose."
If this life was all we had, we would have reason to believe the voice of fear. But with a God who is faithful to save us over and over, a God who is not surprised by our weaknesses, and not hindered by our stutters, a God who splits oceans, heals broken necks, and raises the dead... we can declare that fear a liar and the end of our story is good.
What an awesome truth. God makes a fool of fear, and He makes heroes of unqualified people like you and me... and Moses. People silly enough to trust Him instead of trusting fear, and people who live by faith instead of living restricted by mere sight.
Even when we face devastating times, we can be certain that our God is working in us and through us to reveal more of Himself to everyone involved.
I love it. I pray you are encouraged by it too.
God bless you friends.