I just love a good book, don’t you?
It’s so exciting to get drawn into the story line, the characters, and the emotions of a well written book!
I have a few Christian authors that I really enjoy. I’ve read many of their books. Some authors write such compelling stories that you cry at the sad parts, and even laugh out loud at the funny predicaments the characters find themselves in.
But you always know, when the story gets tense or difficult, that there is still time for things to get better, because you can see how many pages are still in your book. You know it isn’t over because you’re not done turning pages.
If only life were like that.
You’re probably familiar with the tale of the Prodigal Son in scripture.
Luke 15:11-32 tells of one families heartbreak over their adult sons. The father in this tale had two sons. One was obedient and a hard working rule follower. The other was selfish and rebellious, demanding his inheritance from his father in advance.
This son took the money, left home, and proceeded to party. He lived quite a wild life for some time.
There would have been many sleepless nights of worry and wondering for his parents. “Where is he? What is he doing? Did I do the right thing? Is he going to completely ruin his life?” Those parents were no different than you or I would be. We would be grief stricken over it, and so were they.
Imagine if this families story ended there, with the son leaving and their hearts broken.
They certainly couldn’t see that there were more pages in their story….
Then think for a moment about the Israelite people.
They were lost and wandering in the desert. They had their children, their elderly parents and their animals in tow.
They didn’t have the benefit of knowing that there was more to their story. They may have wondered if “this was it” for them.
Imagine if their story ended here. Lost, hot, hungry, and feeling abandoned.
And then there’s Peter.
Peter knew Jesus personally. He had a front row seat to the miracles and teachings of Christ himself. And when Jesus was close to his darkest hour, Peter turned his back on him. He claimed that he didn’t know him at all. And when that rooster crowed, Peter broke. He was filled with shame and regret. He had messed up on a colossal level, and he knew it.
Imagine if his story ended there, with Peter weeping bitterly over his mistake.
But none of those stories ended that way!
The Prodigal Son came home, the Israelite’s entered the promise land, and Peter became an incredible Apostle. The Rock that Jesus said that He would build His church on!
My point is this; The story of YOUR life is still being written.
Sometimes we think that when something bad happens to us, or to someone we love, that we have turned the last page in the book. We worry that “this is it”. That there’s no more time for things to get better.
But in enters hope!
Hebrews 1:11 says this;
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Hope and faith are so completely intertwined that it’s difficult to see where one ends and the other begins. Faith is CONFIDENCE in what we hope for!
Sometimes we hope for many things don’t we? We hope our lives will be comfortable. We hope to have good relationships. We hope our children will turn out well. We hope to have a nice vacation this year. We hope our boss will notice all our hard work. We may even hope our car keeps running.
But the kind of hope I’m talking about here is different. It’s not the kind of hope that we sometimes call “wishful thinking”. This kind of hope EXPECTS good things. It is Expectant Hope.
And Expectant Hope believes fully that God is still working for our good. That our story is still being written. It is “assurance about what we do not see”.
When life gets challenging, remember that there are still many pages left in your “book”. The Author is not finished with the last chapter! As long as you’re still drawing breath, there’s still hope.
Everytime I’ve been in a situation where I felt hopeless, like things were so bad that they could never be good again, God has come through for me in beautiful and amazing ways. His timing is always perfect, and never late. So when it happens that way, we know it’s Him and not us holding the pen. He gets the glory, not me.
God worked in the heart of the Prodigal Son, and turned him around. God worked in the lives of the wandering Israelite people and set their feet on the right path toward the Promise Land. And He never gave up on Peter, and changed his life of regret to a life of purpose and value for His kingdom.
He finished their story in the pages of scripture. He didn’t leave them desolate, lost or broken. He won’t leave you either!
When it’s hardest to pray, pray the hardest.
Remember that He is always working, even when we can’t see it.
Trust God for the rest of your story.
John 13:7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand what I’m doing now, but someday you will. “
Don’t give up on God, He hasn’t given up on you. Philippians 1:6 speaks to this truth “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Until Jesus comes, God holds the pen, and is still writing your story.