January 17, 2010
“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Revelation 22:12,13).
Even when our lives are at their best, we are still perplexed by uncertainties. We look back at many things we would do differently if we could start over. We spend more than a few of our earthly moments silently sighing, “If only . . .” And yet, in God there is this glorious hope: all that now seems contradictory is going to be cleared up. It will someday be clear that even our sorrows and our mistakes were “just right.” Had any detail of our experience been different, we'd have become something less than the unique creatures that God finally turned us into.
It is in Jesus Christ that God is working toward this grand resolution. “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:19,20). And when the time comes, all that has been reconciled to Christ's rule will be offered back to God. “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power” (1 Corinthians 15:24). God, the Source of all things, will have become the Destination.
This does not mean that God's will cannot be opposed. And it does not mean that those who do so will be with God in eternity. It simply means that God can take whatever opposes God and bring about a better result for God’s self, and for those who've come home to God, than if God had not been opposed.
It was with this kind of confidence in God that Robert Louis Stevenson could write: “Help me, O God, to look back on the long way you have brought me, on the long days in which I have been served, not according to my deserts, but my desires; on the pit and the miry clay, the blackness of despair, the horror of misconduct, from which my feet have been plucked out. For my sins forgiven or prevented, for my shame unpublished, I bless and thank you, O God.” If we seek God, all that happens is either happy or useful.
“When the end comes and we are taken for judgment above, we will then clearly understand in God the mysteries that puzzle us now. Not one of us will think to say, ‘Lord, if it had been some other way, all would be well’” (Julian of Norwich).