The Sweet Agony That Is This Time We’ve Been Given

Life is an extraordinary thing.

Just when you think you’ve nailed it, an unexpected development greets you at the corner and you’re sitting curbside rubbing your head trying to remember where you were going before – before the thing,

Before you met the girl who you know will change everything,

Before you got the diagnosis that wasn’t even on your radar,

Before your son called from the police station asking for you to come,

Before you watched your grandbaby take her first steps,

Before the dream you worked so long to realize suddenly appeared,

Before the hospital called to say your daughter overdosed,

Before your coworker suddenly asks you if Jesus is real,

Before those kids from church showed up for your special needs daughter’s party,

Before you were passed over for the promotion you deserved,

Before you suddenly see that your father is failing before your eyes,

Before your husband landed the first punch to your solar plexus,

Before your sister called to say she’s cancer free.

And it all happens at once, doesn’t it?

There were no more apt words written than “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—” Dickens knew a thing or two about the human experience. We all were born into these times.

And the poet, Stevie Nicks, understands when she wonders if she can handle the seasons of her life. Can any of us?

How can we bear the ordinary passage of days with the brilliance of a sunrise over a glimmering lake, the sweet noggin of a newborn snuggled beneath our chins, the laughter of a toddler at her older brother’s antics, the silhouette of a prodigal in the doorway, the smell of freshly baked bread on a winter’s day?

All visited on the same day we stand round an open grave, endure the snub of a sibling who even here cannot be kind, watch a dear friend stumble on legs that soon won’t hold him as he tosses a rose onto the coffin bearing the one who died too young.

How can any doubt that there is a loving God? How can any imagine evil is not real, personal, and active in the world?

How can any of us close our eyes to rest without trusting a Savior’s plan? How can any of us dare send a child into the world without appealing to Him daily for protection from the evil one?

It is all to brief. All too intense. Too real. Too important. Too amazing. Too breath-taking, heart-stopping, and true.

How can we not want it to go on forever?

And there is a way, a way to walk through that door disguised as death to find another sunrise, one more real than any we’ve ever known because there is no shadow of evil to portend bad things.

There is eternal life – and through that door is an endless age full of purpose, beauty, truth, love, relationship, and the greatest story ever lived, because Jesus is the door to that life.

There is another way. A way that leads to a second death. One that is the end of all beauty, warmth, and light. How can we not want to warn others about it? How can we not expend every effort to alert those who sleep through this life that they are not only wasting these days, but eternity, too?

And here we live, you and I, in the nexus between heaven and hell. In the place of the shadow of things to come. In the life and the times, we’ve been given, with which we must do something.

No wonder it gets hard to exhale. No wonder we reach for the wrong comforts. No wonder we cry and wake in the night and sometimes go a little mad.

But, the Lion of Judah reigns and He is fierce, majestic, and full of glory. He is for us. He is with us. He will never leave nor forsake us. Not through fire, flood, violence, or blood, betrayal, or sorrow, or a brutal tomorrow, He reigns with love and truth at His stead.

We will not always feel this way, loved ones. What breaks us now will not break us forever. What tears us down will not keep us down. What rends our hearts will not rend us unable to enter a future where evil cannot abide.

Hold on. Press into the moments ripe with the scent of eternal life and push on through the moments where the phantom of death tries to convince us he has the final word.

Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega. He speaks last and His Word is forever. Maranatha. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, Come.


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4 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Doris says:

    AMEN!!

  2. Kathy says:

    Oh Lori, very poignant words for a time such as this.

  3. Maxine D says:

    Yes, come Lord Jesus.!!

  4. Rob McCullough says:

    Amen Lori! We walk in the Light and keep our eyes on Jesus!