Knowing the Outcome Transforms the Waiting
We knew it was going to be a close game before we turned on the television set. West Virginia had beaten Kansas University in basketball earlier in the year and this game was to be on the Kansas court this time. KU played a mediocre first half and was down by six points at the half. The second half went from bad to worse. Questionable referee calls and repeatedly missed layups shots added to our dismay. We reached a period of dejection late in the second half when even Dick Vitale, the sports broadcaster, declared that the game clearly belonged to West Virginia. Fans started leaving the arena (which never happens at Allen Field House!) when KU was behind fourteen points with two minutes and forty five seconds left to play. They had given up hope and Bev and I, watching from our chairs, had given up hope as well. We moped about the room, glum and saddened by the turn of events. To our surprise, KU began to come back and hit a few shots. They stole the ball twice and started making their shots. Our mood changed from one of despair to one of anxiety. Tension filled the air of our room as we watched KU tie the game and extend it into overtime. Our anxious hardly daring to hope demeanor continued up until the last few seconds when KU was declared the winner by a score of eighty four to eighty.
The next night we were looking for a certain show and happened to see that the game was being rebroadcast on one of the channels. I told Bev as I turned on the channel that she might enjoy watching the rebroadcast. We started watching the game in the second half as KU was playing its worst. We poured ourselves some ice tea and sat down for what we knew would be fifteen minutes of enjoyable entertainment. We joyfully pointed out the great shots that were made and were not dismayed by KU missing free throws and even throwing the ball away during the overtime. We had a relaxing, restful fifteen minutes knowing that there would be rejoicing at the finish. We knew the outcome and it had transformed the waiting.
Paul and Kay Brooks have been friends for many years. It was about six months ago that Paul mentioned to me that “Knowing the outcome transforms the waiting.” He related that his pastor had used this comment in one of his sermons with a similar illustration to the one I referred to earlier. Paul mentioned it in reference to our lives in view of the ongoing cancer treatment one of our daughters was undergoing at the time. He also said, which was true, that “there is an eternal purpose in this.” For those of you who do not know Paul and Kay, you can read more about their ministry on the “Institute for Faith, Work and Economics” web site.
As believers traveling through this fallen world we need to keep our eyes fixed on the outcome. What is the outcome? Let me describe but a few verses to bring our attention to all that God has planned for us.
- “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” II Corinthians 4:17-18
- “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. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brothers.” Romans 8:28-29
- “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” I John 3:2
- “In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:7
- “No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” Revelation 22:3-5
Although part of the new race in Christ, born of His Spirit and His Holy dwelling, we live our lives in a broken world. We are subject to hunger, thirst, and bodily disease. Some labor for their daily bread struggling to make ends meet. We try to take one day at a time, but some times several days attack us at once! Some live lives of loneliness while others are seemingly consumed by never ending responsibilities. We can, at times, identify with the Apostle Paul when he states the following in II Corinthians 4:8-9. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
As I review some of these verses I realize that I have not yet arrived in my ability to “consider it pure joy” as James describes in James 1:2. I do think, however, that it is worthwhile to focus on the truth that each one of us is being prepared for a vast area of eternal service and worship far beyond our present ability to comprehend. Nothing God allows in our lives is ever wasted. Each pain, each sorrow, each disappointment, each struggle, each loss, each period of seeming silence as we wait before Him is but to prepare us for unending service in His presence throughout all eternity. Paul says in Romans 8:18 that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Much as a bridge is tested by heavy equipment and stress placed on it to measure its capacity to handle traffic in the future, so our lives are being prepared for the eternal service for which we were created, that, as a part of Christ‘s Glorified Body, that is, the Church, we might become the expression of God to all creation throughout countless ages to come. This is our outcome, and by God’s Grace, it will transform our waiting.
In Christ, Richard Spann