Generally, I don’t want to know how the plot ends. I like to watch the movie, read the book, or see the game and discover the outcome for myself. However, that changes when the conclusion really matters. It’s one thing to enjoy a story as it goes along and quite another to live through the unknown when the outcome seriously makes a difference.
Being a fan of the Texas Rangers, I have been watching the baseball playoffs. On Monday I realized that I didn’t like the television commentators, so I muted the sound and turned on the radio. It was quickly apparent that the radio was ahead of the video feed. I heard what was happening before I could see it. Somehow, that made it less stressful. When the bases were loaded in the bottom of the ninth and we didn’t score, I wasn’t too upset because I already knew what would happen before I saw it. When the bases were loaded again in the eleventh, what I heard told me that we would win with a home run. Great!
The same principle is true of hard circumstances. It’s the time of not-knowing, the period between the initiation and the outcome that is so difficult. Maybe that’s why God gives us advance notice of endings. Does he really do that?
It’s not that God tells us whether illness ends with health, whether the marriage will reignite, or how he will provide after a lay-off. He does tell us the spiritual outcome of our trials, however, giving us the hope needed to endure with faith.
Verses like these anchor my faith when I am in the time of not-knowing: “Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold—gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away—and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Pet. 1:7). “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:28-29a).
If I focus on what God is accomplishing in me and for his glory, I know the outcome before it happens. I can trust in the God who is able to bring about such results before I can see them, knowing that his voice is as certain as the radio broadcast of the game.
Let’s listen to God’s voice when we can’t see the endings.
How have you learned to focus on his words rather than the difficulties of the circumstances you face?