On The Edge (With More Than We Can Handle)
There you sit on the edge of your seat in the theatre. Your pulse races as you hold tight to the arms of your chair, waiting for that great Hollywood ending where the hero swoops in and saves the day. Believe it or not, real life is like that too, only there’s no dramatic camera angles or tension-building soundtrack and certainly no wardrobe or makeup teams to make everything picture perfect. But there is a hero.
Life is rarely a calm, placid existence where we float from one peaceful scene to the next. More often we seem to have several life crises in need of a miracle happening all at once. It’s our relationships, our finances, our health, our jobs, our family, our everything. Wouldn’t it be great if we could schedule all the desperate situations in our lives to all line up so that we could deal with them one at a time? With a nice summer vacation in between too? Probably not going to happen, but it’s a nice thought.
I think there’s a reason for this. I think it’s God’s intention to give us more than we can handle, every day. All the time. Think about it. If life was easy, what would we need with an all-powerful, supernatural God? We could just solve our problems and pat ourselves on the back for our own resourcefulness. But then , where would our faith be? How would God fit into that picture? Or, what if when we needed anything from God we just tossed up a prayer and BAM! God fixed things for us. Kind of like putting a quarter in a vending machine and getting a candy bar back. That’s no good either. Have you ever met a child that got everything he ever asked for?
The reality is that God operates best on the edge of our need. The nail-biting, last straw, point of collision, seconds from disaster moments of our lives. You might even say its his specialty. Look at Joshua. It would have been a lot less dramatic and brought God a lot less glory if He had quietly arranged for there to be more troops at Joshua’s disposal and a lot less for the enemy, but there was no glory for God in that. No way for everyone to see how great He was and how much they needed a God like that. That sun-stand-still-moment, when God just stopped the clocks is a story we still tell today, even some of us who aren’t believers.
And when Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead, he’d already been wrapped up and tucked away in his tomb for four days. His sister even argued with Jesus about rolling away the stone that covered the entrance. “but, my Lord,” she said, “it’s been four days; by now he stinketh.” yes she actually said stinketh. If Jesus had just phoned in a healing for Lazarus, kind of like he did for the Roman officer’s servant, would that healing even have made it into the bible? Would that have served the purpose of revealing to the world who Jesus really is? What God is really capable of?
I wonder how many new souls were saved that day when Lazarus ‘came forth’? How many have been saved since whenever that story is retold? In this life, we were never promised safety, ease, perpetual happiness. Jesus says in John 16:33 that “in this life you will have trouble.” But Jesus goes on to say, fear not, for I have overcome the world. Each time we get to that point in our own ‘movie’ that we’re on the edge of our seat and bitten off our last nail, look up! The hero’s about to make His dramatic entrance. The ending to this part of your story probably won’t be a canned Hollywood ‘happily ever after’ kind of thing, but it will be exactly the ending you needed at exactly the time you needed it. So when it comes, remember to give God the glory.