See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? Hebrews 12, verse 25.
Now. Because eternity matters most, the time is now to talk about it, to listen about it. There is no tomorrow guaranteed for any of us, and yesterday is done. Today is the day to listen to what God is saying to you. Today is the ONLY time to listen.
I took off last week from writing these proverbials because my wife and I were moving. We did “the big move” from our small farm in Paris to an apartment in McKinney. There are a few reasons why, some good, some not so good. In time, I’m sure I’ll talk about them here; for now, it’s just raw. You’ve probably moved a few times in your own life, so you know it’s hard work; emotional and physical work. We’re almost done with it, but it’s hard work all the way up to the end. So I needed some time off.
I’ve spent that time wondering what Jesus is saying in all this. We’re moving to make sure we don’t lose our livelihood, and to be closer to family that needs us. Yet it hurts. I’ve always felt we were led to Paris, to buy the farm and start a new life together. Now I also feel we are being led elsewhere, to start another new life together in a different way. We are both following God’s lead, and so we understand that, no matter what happens, it will all be ok. One of my favorite movie lines is from “The Best New Marigold Hotel.” Judy Densch: “everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, then it isn’t the end.” Very Indian; very Hindu; very apropos. I know things will be alright because God ALWAYS works in our lives for good. In the end, because of Him, it will be alright, all right, all the time. If it isn’t yet alright, then it isn’t yet the end and He isn’t done leading us through better things. If we don’t believe that, then don’t we simply bring on ourselves the consequences of not following God? If we don’t follow God, don’t we get what we ask for? The verse today implies this is so.
So we’re following Jesus yet it still hurts. Now it’s tough. Now I’m mourning what’s lost, ambivalent about today, unafraid of the future but also uncaring of it. Even angry. I suppose I’m actually numb because I’m having difficulty sorting out what I’m feeling and prioritizing what I can and can’t do about it. What is God saying to me when I’m numb, when I don’t know where I fit in right now? What’s He saying to my family when my wife and I are both working so hard to get set up to ‘be there’ for those who need us yet feeling distant and hurt? What is the Lord saying when it’s the end of some things but it doesn’t really feel alright?
You know what He’s saying. So do I, even when I don’t want to admit it. He doesn’t promise the easy road: He promises to walk it with us. He promises to abide with us when His words say “I know the work is hard but you aren’t finished. I’m with you, so keep it up.” He’s calling me to submit to Him in all this, and He’s calling me to trust in Him even though that hurts. He NEVER guarantees that things in life won’t hurt because, in a fallen world, we feel hurt when it stings into our lives. He simply says “I’m with you. Always.” Why, Christ’s last words here were “lo I am with you even until the end of the age.”
That’s now. That means He’s with me, with us, now. Ages end every day; yes, I mean that. Things begin and things end and through it all, like we talked about a few days back, these are the days of Elijah when we get to declare the word of the Lord. We do that because we listen to Him when times are good and bad both and we declare that, in both, He’s with us. He’s celebrating with us when we’re glad, and He’s holding us, mourning with us, hurting for us, when we’re hurting. He meant what He said and He’s with us now.
Because now is the time. Eternity does matter most so now is the time to listen and make ready for it. No matter what happens today, He’s abiding with us, working with us to make things better. He already did everything to make eternity matter most, to make it possible. And He’s with us each day to make things alright in the meantime. Right now, today, He’s talking to us and telling us what matters most. That HE matters most because He is our everything and He makes all things all right, right up until the very end.
For further reading: Hebrews 3:12, Hebrews 1:1, Hebrews 8:5, Hebrew 11:7, Deuteronomy 18:19, Hebrews 2:2-3, Hebrews 10:29, Matthew 28:20, Mark 8:36.
My Lord, abide with me these days. I’m hurting and struggling. Thank You for walking with me now.