My oldest son is getting married tomorrow. Well, one of two weddings. The actual ceremony is tomorrow in a small setting. The second one is more of a re-enactment party in a few months with loads of friends and family. Having been married over 21 years myself at the time of this writing I think its safe to say that I know what’s coming. I mean, I don’t know the future like God does, but I have a very strong sense of what this new couple is in for.
Big joy at the little wins. Big frustration at the little losses. Success. Setbacks. Irrational anger at each other. Indescribable love for one another. Overwhelming urges to give up followed by overpowering urges to press on. And then there are children, most likely. Little humans you have to train to become big humans, who will show you why some people abuse their children at times and why others worship their children. I know what’s coming and if he can endure it, it’s worth it.
What’s more, I’m the one doing the ceremony, so I’m quite literally sending him off. As I was pondering all of this a question came to mind; does God, The Father, Anticipate things? Specifically, when it was time for Jesus, His Son, to enter the scene of history (His-story), was it just something that was checked off his “Plan for Mankind” list, or did He look forward to it even though He knew what was coming?
Let’s frame this a little differently. This is only a metaphor, not a theological model. Imagine God is in a movie theater watching a movie that He wrote, directed, produced, edited, and did the sound track. He’s got his jumbo bucket off popcorn, sitting in the comfy seats, big drink, and a box of Reece’s Pieces because you know they come from Heaven. The movie starts, there are no previews or cell phones in Heaven. Does God watch the movie that is the series of events from creation in Genesis through the New Heavens and New Earth in Revelation, with the ability to see what’s happening in every single life, with anticipation?
More to the point, when the movie got to the part where it was time for Jesus to enter the story, did God watch with a suspenseful anticipation of what would occur in Jesus’ life? The lessons of childhood, the splinters of carpenters work, the joy of friendships? Then there is the stuff we know about from the Gospels. The hatred of the religious leaders, the frustration of training the disciples, the joy at their victories, the thrill of healing the sick and raising the dead, the fulfillment of promises made earlier in the movie, and finally the betrayal, crucifixion, and resurrection.
Since God knew what was coming, I think He knew it was going to be worth it, which would have made watching it all the more exciting! The journey can be more exciting than the ending. Not while you’re on the journey. The journey itself can suck. Even Jesus said, “If there is any other way, let’s do that.” (Matthew 26:39) Let’s face it, marriage can suck. Life can suck. But the journey isn’t the end. The end, is the end. In a few months my son will be with his bride at a party. In the end, Jesus will be with is bride at a party. If you are one of His followers, you are a part of being that bride and will be at that party. That isn’t the thing that makes it worth while, but it is a thing, along with the other small victories along the way.
I have a very strong sense of what’s coming for these kids. God has an absolute sense of what’s coming for you and me. I recently told someone that, sometimes, platitudes are the only thing that hold me together. Sometimes scripture can feel like an empty platitude, even when you know that it isn’t. Here is one I’ve been hanging on to lately.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30 NKJV)
That is there journey we are all on as disciples of Jesus. This part of the journey is conformed or shipped into the same image or shape as Jesus. Look at what He went through. Look at how worth it that was.
God knows. God watches with anticipation. One day we will all look back and thank Him for it. I think we will feel like you do when you meet someone else who has just watched the same show you did, except you had to watch it later than the other person and you are just now catching up. It’s fun to catch up like that. It’s fun to be the other friend waiting for others to catch up. Take some time and look back on the movie of your life and play catch up with God on those stories. I think you might feel more hope for the future if you don’t already.
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