At a party with some of our ministry staff and volunteers, we had a lot of fun with a common party game. Okay, each person brings something they really want to get rid of, beautifully wrapped. Everyone draws a number. When your number comes up, you have the choice of opening one of the unopened gifts and making it yours or taking that unopened package and trading for what someone else has already opened, and then you leave them with whatever is in that still-wrapped package. Somehow, there always ends up being a few items that everybody wants. And depending on how aggressive your people are – and we’ve had some pretty aggressive ones – they remember who’s got the hot item and they go after it with a vengeance. Those few items just keep moving around in trade after trade.
My sister-in-law, who is a wonderful worker in our ministry, actually drew the #1, which meant she didn’t get to make a trade at the beginning. But while the trading frenzy for the evening’s hot items got more and more intense, she just sat peacefully and quietly through it all, because she remembered the oft-forgotten rule of the game. Since #1 didn’t get to make a trade at the beginning of the game, she makes the last trade of the game. So all along, she knew what she wanted. And all along she’s sitting there thinking, “I know how this is going to end!”
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Knowing the Ending.”
One of the exciting things about what God reveals to us in His Word is that we get to see how things are going to end. The frenzy and chaos may last quite a while, there may be lots of twists and changes, but, like my sister-in-law’s perspective on that game, there is no question about how it’s going to end up.
Our word for today from the Word of God is the incredible promise of Romans 8:28 – the verse that one great writer called “a soft pillow for a long night.” Later verses will declare that if God is for us, no one can successfully be against us, that Christ’s love makes us conquerors in this worst of life’s disasters, that there will never be a life-quake so severe that it will be able to take us out of Jesus’ love. But before all that, this promise of how everything in a believer’s life will end up. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” In the King James, “God works all things together for good.”
During the game, it can get really frantic. In fact, it can even hurt a lot. The verse does not say everything is good. It says God is working everything together for good – the agony, the ecstasy, the pain, the gains, the losses, even what the devil is doing to you. Paul’s thorn in the flesh wasn’t good in itself; it hurt him, it frustrated him, and the Bible says it was a “messenger from Satan.” But Paul saw the good that came later in the game. The pain had brought him to the end of himself and into an experience of God’s power that only the powerless ever experience. The gain was far greater than the pain.
That’s the implied guarantee of Romans 8, that God will not allow it in your life unless it can be used for a greater good. No matter how hard this current situation is to understand, no matter how almost unbearable the pain, it’s possible for you to keep going with this unexplainable sense of peace and well-being. Because while God never guarantees that all the chapters will be happy, He does guarantee a happy ending.
The outcome…a better family, or a better ministry, or a better business, a better you if you’ll stay on the Jesus-path, if you’ll let the struggle turn you to your Lord, not away from Him. He will do what will bring you the greatest good and Him the greatest glory. Relax in that guarantee, no matter how it looks now.
As the pressure and the frenzy increase all around you, you’ll be able to sit there with this wonderful inner calm saying because of your Sovereign Lord, “I know how this is going to end.”