To the suffering, abused, and disadvantaged. To those left in ashes, seeking restoration, or dealing with loss. May these be words an encouragement:
Maybe you are battle-worn, weary, and overwhelmed and have forgotten God’s heart towards you? Let’s be reminded of His love. God is personally committed to redeeming His people and His world. He loves you with an everlasting love, His love is fierce, unfailing, steadfast, and full of kindness. There is amazing generosity in God loving us. We are all born broken and sinful from birth, but God calls and redeems the humble.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom 5:8 ESV
God is vested in you. Never forget the great lengths by which He has purchased your redemption. He has given His own, Himself, His son. God is trustworthy and unchanging. His love is not based on our faithfulness or strength but in His Character and His might. He is merciful, faithful, holy, wise, full of justice, and goodness, and peace. He is sufficient for our every need.
Perhaps you know this to be the character of God, yet you have a hard time reconciling such kindness with the hard realities of your life? Why does God allow His children to suffer evil and injustice?
The answer lies in the understanding that we live in a time theologians call the “already, but not yet.” This means we can celebrate the finished work of Christ. We know that Christ has conquered sin, the world, and Satan. Jesus has defeated death and the grave, and his kingdom is already in force—with a complete and total victory assured.
While we know the end of God’s magnificent redemption story, currently, Satan has been given some dominion over the Earth. Death is still present in our lives. We do not have our perfect and glorified bodies, and so we deal daily with sickness and pain.
“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2 ESV
Currently, we are still being sanctified, and because of this we have many spiritual victories we can celebrate. We are not left powerless! The Spirit of God has come to rest on all believers, and will not depart! We are in the process of being changed by God but He has yet to fully redeem His world.
Why then must we wait?
“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20 ESV
Again, the essence of God is love. Love, based not on our contributions, faithfulness, or value, but in the person, and being of God, Himself. For love to abound God has granted each person their own free will to choose; to love him or reject him, to follow or rebel.
God is patient and desires that no person would perish in their sin, but that all people will come to Him for salvation. He is long-suffering and has allowed time for repentance and change.
So we wait in the “not yet” as God gives those who are far from Him time to repent. Take comfort that God cannot be manipulated, He will not be mocked. What we sow, we will reap, the Sinner to eternal damnation, the Christian to loss or reward in heaven. God is just and He will exact justice in the end. Even in the “not yet” we can trust that He is always working. Even what is intended for evil cannot escape being used in God’s divine plan. Despite what is said or done nothing can thwart God’s purposes.
He will never fail you. There will still be pain, there might still be injustice, and struggle, but He has not left us to ourselves. He is the answer to all of our hardship and sorrows. He covers us with His love, His righteousness, and His perfection. He cleanses us and heals our hearts. He meets us in the dark and difficult places, and His healing love shines forth. He restores our dignity and in Him our value remains intact. Our God given hope in the finished work of Christ, grace to hold fast in faith to His promises, and assurance of Christ’s acceptable sacrifice and resurrection make us steadfast, immovable, and confident.
If we find our hearts are wavering, our trust incomplete, our confidence diminished, we must cling to the Word, specifically the character and promises of God, until they are solidified in our hearts and minds—an impenetrable fortress against the devil. We can be resolute, even in the midst of our suffering. We may never know why we must endure such hardships but we can know that with God everything will ultimately be worked out for our good, even when we are called to suffer. All will serve its God given purpose.
The shadow of death is just a shadow; partial, fleeting darkness. When despair and weariness hit, remember that although it feels like death, it cannot have the final say because Christ has overcome! Complete restoration, peace, joy, perfection—all are guaranteed, even if it has not come…yet. God does not waste a single hurt. He is with you.
Yet, we cannot rest in what we feel. We rest in what we are sure of from the word of God. We cannot trust in what we see. We can only rest in what we know from the Word of God. I cannot trust in my own vain works. I can only rest in the works of a perfect Savior. It is a blessing to rest in this way because my trust is in someone I have access to, someone I know—Jesus. And His Friendship is worth it all.
This is Faith. Living in the “here, but not yet,” knowing that heaven is coming and trusting God with our today. You are not alone. It is truth we all need everyday, and it is enough….for He is always sufficient for our need.
Written by Melanie Barnfield. Melanie Barnfield is an artist, closet introvert, wordsmith, and lover of Christ. She has been married 14 years to the love of her life, and has been blessed with 4 beautiful children. Residing in Benton, IL, she is an avid reader who enjoys teaching, gardening, and photography.