“As dark as certain chapters may be, our story will end well. When dark times come, we must grab God’s hand and fight to trust him. He is always guiding us to goodness.” 1)”NIV, Discover God’s Heart Devotional Bible, eBook: Explore the King’s Love for His People on a Cover-to-Cover Journey Through the Bible” by Zondervan, Laurin Makohon Greco
I feel like the quote above is a bit “dangerous”.
There’s a condition built into the quote. But the conditional word is absent. It’s implied. And it’s too easy to think that it’s not even there.
That’s why I have the parenthetical If we really want it to in the title.
Because, truth is, our story isn’t absolutely guaranteed to end well.
We know it’s not going to come out well for everyone, because in Revelation we read –
The Dead Are Judged
Rev 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
I have to say, being thrown into the lake of fire doesn’t sound like a good ending to me.
Obviously, there really is a condition attached to our story ending well.
So – let’s look at that – the condition.
From David, we read –
Ps 34:21 Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
Ps 34:22 The LORD redeems his servants;
no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.
From this, we see some cases where people’s stories end well – and others don’t.
And we see the condition attached to whether or not our story ends well –
“As dark as certain chapters may be, our story will end well. When dark times come, we must grab God’s hand and fight to trust him. He is always guiding us to goodness.”
In other words,
Our stories will end well, if, when those dark times come, we grab God’s hand and fight to trust Him, because He will guide us to goodness when we choose to follow Him.
Yeah – that’s more like it.
Continuing that thought, let’s check out the verses that come after what is arguably the most famous verse in the Bible –
Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
Even here, there’s a condition. And even though this one isn’t hidden at all, it’s one we tend to be able to ignore. Too many of us ignore – or forget – these words – whoever believes in him – and somehow come to the conclusion that Jesus death on the cross will save everyone. No matter what. No conditions. But that’s just wrong.
And – the verses immediately following 3:16 state that very clearly. But still – we ignore / forget it.
We think our story will end well, because God loves us and Jesus died for us. Even if we don’t even believe in anything Jesus said.
One more example –
The Sheep and the Goats
Mt 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Mt 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Mt 25:37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
Mt 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Mt 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
Mt 25:44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
Mt 25:45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
Mt 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Again, we see the condition in action.
The sheep on the right – the goats on the left.
The sheep go to the kingdom prepared for them – the Kingdom of God,
The goats go to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
There’s one more thing to note in there.
Maybe you’ve already noticed it.
For those who believe God loves them and wouldn’t send them to Hell no matter what they did, said or believed –
notice that you are going to a place prepared for someone else – the devil and his angels.
You aren’t going to the place that God prepared for you.
Because you chose to have your story end badly.
The bright side to this –
For those of us in the dark chapters of our lives, that condition also tells us how to make sure our stories really do end well.
When dark times come, we must grab God’s hand and fight to trust him. He is always guiding us to goodness.”
I have to go now.
It’s pretty dark here –
and I need to go grab God’s hand.
Thank you so much Lord, for this reminder.
The quote and details on the book are available at amazon.com – http://amzn.to/2cJ70ge
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|1.||↑||”NIV, Discover God’s Heart Devotional Bible, eBook: Explore the King’s Love for His People on a Cover-to-Cover Journey Through the Bible” by Zondervan, Laurin Makohon Greco|