I’m walking through a phase of unanswered questions. I suppose we always live in a state of unknowing, but at certain seasons of my life, I have felt it more keenly than others. This is one of those times.
And I’m not the only one facing an unsure future. Over and over again I find myself in conversations with teary-eyed sojourners who are continuing to walk, however shakily, into the unknown. What else can we really do but take one step at a time, praying that the fog will soon lift so that we can see where it is that we’re actually going?
We may be tempted to believe that we’re blind. That we have no hope of understanding what God is doing or that we will never be able to live this life as people who aren’t anxious, unsure, and generally troubled. We may wonder why the Lord doesn’t reveal more to us sooner. Why doesn’t He send us a little reassurance, a little glimpse into the nature of our future? These are the things that I, who have studied, cherished, memorized and taught the Bible, have wondered at times. How quickly I forget. How easily I turn aside to lesser things in search of the reassurance that only Jesus Himself can provide.
In His mercy, God doesn’t reveal all of the steps on our path between here and Heaven. He knows if we could clearly see all that is ahead, we would lose heart before we even got started. He has a way of slowly revealing all of the ways that He will grow, change, and sanctify us. According to His wise design, we learn to rely on Him a little more each day by taking one more step toward whatever He is doing for His glory and our good. As His children, we receive the grace we need when we need it, and we learn through days and weeks and months and years that the strength of the Holy Spirit inside of us is strength enough.
But that’s not all. It isn’t just that God’s grace is sufficient, although it is. We can’t miss the reality that the ultimate evidence of the quality of our future is clearly spelled out in Scripture: the resurrection.
Paul wrote about it in his letters. The Thessalonian church was operating in the middle of a society that had no use for the one true God. In fact, the church was inundated with false teachers and persecution from all sides. Still, it thrived. Paul told the Thessalonians to encourage each other with this truth: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
What are we to do, friends, when an uncertain future crowds our minds and hearts with fear and worry? Where are we to look for reassurance? Well, we should know. We look to the empty tomb. We look to the promise that one day we will meet our Lord Jesus in the clouds. His resurrection sealed the deal on our future.
So, when the very next part of the road we’re walking gets so hazy that we can’t seem to take courage, will we look at each of the troubles we face, each of the anxieties, each of the shaky steps we’re taking, and apply the resurrection? Will we let the coming resurrection work backward to soothe our hearts? Will we let the empty tomb of our Savior remind us that it is already done? He has conquered. The resurrection is ours. We don’t have to live as blind travelers, dreading the next step. The resurrection applies, to this step and the next and the next. We are conquerors. Let us, as Paul suggested, encourage each other with this reality. The empty tomb is relevant to everything we will face in a future that seems unsure. And one day all of these troubles will be a thing of the past. We will be with the Lord forever.