Promises Made, Promises Kept
Form them in the practices and postures that I have taught you, and show them how to follow the commands I have laid down for you. And I will be with you, day after day, to the end of the age.
- Matthew 28:20, The Voice
Upon leaving this earth bodily for the final time, Jesus might have wished that he could have given his fearful and grief-stricken disciples more assurances. He may have wanted to say that their fears were groundless, that nothing bad was going to happen to them, that God would bring peace & reconciliation to the world in their lifetime.
He did not. He could not.
Jesus did tell them that they had a mission to fulfill: to carry on what He had started. But they had seen what that would bring: opposition, reviling, mistreatment, even death. After having witnessed the path Jesus had just taken, the command to continue the work was a foreboding one, to say the least. "Everyone will hate you because of me" (Matthew 10:22). Hardly the words of comfort they wanted to hear.
In other words, don't be surprised by troubles. Count on them. When hard times come, and they will come, don't ask: "Why?" Say, "Of course." This is what we are in for. This is what was promised. We long for peace; we are meant for struggle. We long for justice; we are meant to have to fight for it. We long for love; we are meant to risk our hearts being broken. We long for the end of pain; we are meant to have to endure it.
Be surprised by rest, however long it may last.
Be surprised by victory, no matter how rare it seems.
Be surprised by love, and how it continues to overcome.
Be surprised by relief, however fleeting it may feel.
Be surprised by joy in the midst of all of it, and give thanks for the miracle.
Because there is a promise Jesus could and did make: "I will be with you, day after day, to the end of the age." Being with is something we can count on. God is with us. Therefore we can be with each other.
You are in the midst of struggle? I will hear you.
You are the victim of injustice? I will stand with you.
You are brokenhearted and alone? I will stay near you.
You are suffering in pain? I will sit and cry with you.
Day after day. To the end of the age. Don't be surprised.
You are invited to celebrate Ascension Day with us, live on Facebook this Thursday, May 21 at 5:00pm.