Kim was a prolific reader. Perhaps that’s why she was such a good writer—or so I’m told. One memory I vividly picture in my mind has her sitting on the couch or in bed reading. I would call her name multiple times to get her attention. That girl couldn’t help but be drawn in and enthralled in a story!
However, I’m reminded of a bad habit she had when reading. She just could not help herself. Oftentimes, something in the story caused consternation. She didn’t like where it was headed. So, she would interrupt her reading, hold her place, and look to the very last page of the book to see how it was going to end. She wanted to see the outcome before she continued. Knowing where the story was headed gave her enough encouragement to be able to go back into the story.
“…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
I would always make some comment about how she was ruining the story. But as it turns out, I have discovered Kim’s very bad habit is actually very good and helpful.
Especially in grief.
Especially for people addicted to good times. Especially for people with an aversion to pain. Especially for those who consider whether they can go on in their current story or not.
Especially for me. Mimicking Kim’s bad habit has helped me to press on.
Real life is full of heavy weight. Even clingy sin. We’re instructed to run a race—a marathon as it turns out—with endurance. Life is a long journey. To keep running, we need to occasionally look to the last page of the story. The goal. The outcome. The prize. The joy.
Jesus. Look unto Jesus.
He inspires us and perfects us. There was a joy set before him in his journey—a final victory, and he bore up under the cross. The cross was a story plot-twist like no other. The death of Jesus overwhelms brokenness. Shame is now defeated, and joy is delivered. And he sat down at the right hand of God.
“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
The end of the story—in spite of the immediate pain he endured—has him exalted on high with a name proven to be above every other name. Above every other would-be god. In fact, all knees will bow before this exalted One. Every tongue will confess that he is Lord.
The end of the story has the Savior honored, the Father glorified, and a multitude from every people, tribe, and language before the throne. People redeemed. God worshipped. Finished.
“…a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne…” Revelation 7:9
Pain is real. Brokenness is ever-present. Loss is devastating. But don’t close the book too soon. Learn a lesson from Kim. Her very helpful bad habit will inspire faith, hope, and endurance. Go ahead and look at the end of the story. Look at the last page. Look at those last verses.
Suffering may accompany your life now, but the end of the story tells you that Jesus is coming. Then go back into your story and cry out in your low moments, “Come, Lord Jesus!” By faith, rest in the grace of Jesus that is yours now.
In the middle of a story, it turns out that Kim’s bad habit is very good and helpful. The end of the story says, “Amen.” So be it. It is done, and all will be well.
“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” Revelation 22:20-21
Wow. Good, good, good! Thank you.
Thanks Dee Ann! Great to see you!
Being with the Harare ladies before Emeritus has put Kim fresh on my mind, so I opened this one immediately. This one made me smile, seeing her in my mind’s eye looking at the end of the story before going on. Love this perspective of the end game and the encouragement this brings. The story’s not finished. There are still great joys to embrace; incredible adventures to enjoy. Yes, undoubtedly, some more heartaches involving loss, but there’s also always good to come on the journey.
Kim would have loved to be with you all to enjoy that heavenly fellowship!
What a great reminder. God has blessed us by telling us the end of the story. We don’t know much about here to there, but, as you said, knowing the end encourages us to persevere no matter what lies between here and there. Thank you!
Thanks, Bob! Press on!