A guest blog by Christi.
Note: I originally wrote this August 28, 2015, but I wanted to read it to Jeff before publishing, but he was placed on a ventilator before I could. I had to move forward without his wisdom and suggestions. Deep down, I know I have his blessing.
“These are the good old days.” Jeff used to say that even before our leukemia struggle began. It is a proclamation that today is good despite its struggles, a proclamation that the best days are NOT behind us. After our leukemia journey began, it became a proclamation that God is good despite our momentary suffering, which sometimes stretches into months or years.
Today is good because God made today and He created us to enjoy him today. “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)
How can we say that when sickness and death swirl and rage around us like a typhoon? We can say it because we fix our eyes on Jesus. We allow him to shift our paradigm so that we do not look upon the the things that are seen, which are temporal. We choose to look into the unseen which is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).
So often, we buy into a “gospel of prosperity,” wherein we expect Jesus to give us what we want, whether that is a nicer home and material wealth or a life free from pain, sickness, sorrow, or suffering of any kind. Simply because “by his stripes we are healed,” we somehow believe we should be healed HERE and NOW or at least HERE and SOON. And if we were the authors of our own stories, most of us would choose health, wealth and happily ever after HERE and NOW.
But we are not the authors. We live the story but it does not belong to us. Our gospel is not one of prosperity. It is a gospel of suffering. How is that good news?
Here and now are but crumbs from the Master’s table, but if we belong to Christ, a feast awaits. We want to rake and scrape for the crumbs when we could look ahead to His marvelous banquet. As the late Kara Tippetts spelled out, “I picture God’s gentle countenance as I beg for more time, more loving, more enjoying the crumbs, as I can’t see the next season in all it’s fullness.”(p. 105). She further described our (often) short-sightedness as she wrote, “None of us have the strength to loosen our grip, untie the knots, open wide our hands to the loves we love…We are reckless in our grasping for more time, and forget that the best is yet to come. We simply have so little imagination for our forever home…”(p. 104).
These are the good old days, but there are MUCH better days ahead. We continue to pray for healing HERE and NOW, but we know that no matter what, Jesus our Messiah has a “happily ever after” planned, and it is the perfect ending to each of our broken stories. He promises to bring beauty from our ashes (Isaiah 61:3) and make all things new (Revelation 21:5). Our gospel of suffering is good news because even if healing does not come HERE and NOW, we can be certain it will come THERE and FOREVER.
May we walk joyfully, humbly, expectantly in the temporal but have eyes to see into the unseen, eternal realm where a feast awaits.
The Holy Bible. (2004). New Living Translation. Carol Stream: Tyndale House.
Tippetts, K. (2014). The Hardest Peace. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook.