Some years ago, my wife and I were at this couples’ party at church, and they played a game that is sort of like that old TV show, “Let’s Make a Deal.” Everybody brought some “white elephant” gifts – they didn’t bring white elephants but that’s something you really wanted to get rid of. Of course, all these castaway gifts were nicely wrapped so no one knew what was inside. Then one person (maybe you’ve done this) has to go to the gift pile, pick one, and they open it. From that point on, each person has a choice when they go to the middle: take one of those unopened treasures, or give one of those unopened gifts in exchange for something that’s already been opened that looks good to you – something that you know you want. Now, at this particular party, there was one particular object – this hand-carved lamp stand – that everybody wanted. It was one of the few things of value really. And it didn’t matter what lengths a person went to in order to conceal that lamp stand, the next trader inevitably would remember where it was and they’d go for it. Actually, the dealing got pretty animated, in fact, I’d say almost dangerous at times. Everybody was up for grabs, except for one person – the woman who had opened the first gift. See, she remembered the rules of the game – that since the first person didn’t get to make a trade, they get to make the last trade of the game. Through all the turmoil, she knew who was going home with that lamp stand all along!
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Knowing How It’s Going To End.”
That lady who opened the first gift was sitting there peacefully through all the hassling, probably saying to herself, “I know how this is going to end!” Well, that kind of confidence can give you great peace when everybody else is losing it.
Our word for today from the Word of God is especially for someone who is carrying a very heavy burden right now; maybe a disappointment, a painful loss, or a deep hurt. Hear the word of the Lord in Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” First of all, God doesn’t try to deny or ignore the pain we have, or the tears, or the grief. They are very, very real. But God says, they need to be compared to the joy that is coming, and comparatively, this season of weeping will be brief. The Bible says that God has seen your tears, felt your tears, and actually stored up your tears in a bottle. But He has also planned the celebration.
Right now, it may feel as if it’s always going to be like this. Listen, “but rejoicing comes in the morning.” God guarantees it. You can make it through a long, cold, dark winter if you know Spring is coming. And in this case, Spring lasts forever.
When the Duke of Wellington was engaged in one of history’s most decisive battles, all London was waiting for word of the outcome. And the first message that came through simply said, “Wellington defeated.” And people started to mourn the loss. Until the rest of the message finally got through, “Wellington defeated the enemy.” What looks like defeat right now – what looks like the end – is not the end! Your feelings are sending you only half the news…the tears part. But there is victory coming!
It looked as if it was over when Lazarus died; Jesus hadn’t arrived in time to heal him. But Jesus was planning something much better than a healing – how about a resurrection! It wasn’t over! What you’re facing right now may seem to be the end, but that which seems to have won right now will be defeated. It isn’t over unless you despair and walk away from the God who will finish this battle victoriously.
Dig deep into your Heavenly Father’s love and into His strength. Until the rest of the message comes clear. In the middle of the turmoil, even when everybody else is going crazy, you can stay peaceful; you can stay poised. You know that joy and victory are coming. You can sit back calmly, smile, and say, “I know how this is going to end.”