This Night Won’t Last Forever

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 – “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

What does it mean for something to be timeless? It’s a difficult thing to think about since everything we know and experience exists within time. Trends, the weather, children growing up too fast, pandemics…they all change with the times. But God is timeless. He is constant. He is outside of time and space because He created time and space. And nothing in time—past, present or future—has ever taken him by surprise, not even the darkness you may be going through right now.

Many say that God views all of time in the here and now. It’s as if your life, and all of history for that matter, is compiled in a book that He holds in His hand. He can see the beginning on one page, then flip to another and see the ending. The book of our life here on earth that God holds in His hands has a plot that consists of twists and turns and comedy and tragedy. There are moments that seem to last a lifetime but in the grand scheme of things barely take up a chapter or even a page in our book.

We were created by a timeless God to exist within time and to live for all of time. He created us to be eternal. To live forever. And there’s so much hope in that. When you get to “The End” of the book of your life that God holds, in reality it is “The Beginning” for those who are in Christ. All the hardships, all the death, all the tears, all the doubt, all the hoping for a better day will all fade into eternity past when all things are made new, and our hope becomes sight.

Any hardship and suffering you face in this life is “light and momentary” compared to the eternity of perfection and glory that awaits you, as explained by the Apostle Paul, who personally knew suffering very well. Amid your hardship now, God is working something within you that will last for eternity. The page, chapter, or whole book of suffering in your life will seem but a dot in a footnote compared to the eternity that is in store for those whose faith rests in the timeless God who entered time and space to suffer in our place.

In his song, “This Night Won’t Last Forever,” Channing Gillespie reminds us, “This night won’t last forever; There’s no darkness strong enough; To stop the rising of the sun; This night won’t last forever.”

No matter how long your sleepless nights may seem, the sun has always risen. Every time. In the scheme of time in which we exist, the next day has always arrived. Without fail. It is the same with your life. The darkness will not last forever. There is coming a day when there will be no more night, and the light of Jesus will chase away every dark place. That includes your every sin and your every sorrow.

This night won’t last forever. That is as certain as the rising sun.

Channing and Jacob will be partnering again for the second annual NIGHT OF HOPE on September 25. Tickets have been graciously paid for by the community for the first 100 to register. We would love for you to be a part of this inspirational night of lecture, testimony, and songs of hope.

View the previous devotional here.

I Shall Not Want

Psalm 23:1-3a – “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.”

We don’t always get what we think we need, but we do always get what God knows we need. This is true in our present day and throughout biblical history. God has always been shepherding his people and providing for their needs, not necessarily their wants.

God promised miraculous blessings to Abraham: a child in his old age, a child that would become a people, God’s people, and be more numerous than the stars in the sky. But Abraham tried to speed up God’s perfect timing and have a child with his wife’s servant instead of with his wife Sarah. They thought they knew better and likely even thought they were fulfilling what God wanted, but God had a better better in mind. And Abraham and Sarah’s impatience caused much hardship. Yet, God was still faithful to His promise and led Abraham towards the fulfillment of his and Sarah’s son Isaac, the seed what would become the great nation of Israel.

Fast forward several hundred years, God’s people saw the nations around them had kings, and they thought they needed one, too. God knew they were rejecting His sovereign rule and reign, but He relented to their demands and gave them King Saul. He warned them of the hardship they would face with a king, and they still wanted what they thought they needed. Saul failed them, but God soon gave them a king after His own heart—David, who ruled and reigned with equity and justice. David was a shepherd who followed the guidance of the Good Shepherd. But David succumbed to sin as well, causing heartache and oppression on himself and his family.

God’s people were often oppressed, most often because of their sin. But God, because He is merciful and gracious, promised another King who would come from the line of David and rule with equity and justice. God’s people were ready and expecting the Messiah, yet many missed Him. They expected Him to deliver them from Roman oppression, to physically rule and reign like David did. They wanted and longed for that. Yet, what they really needed was freedom from the oppression of sin. That is what God was providing through Jesus. God took on flesh to take the punishment for man’s sin by dying on the cross. And He rose from the dead to ensure the greatest need would forever be provided. Jesus came to give us what we always needed, though it wasn’t even within our comprehension of what we wanted.

We cannot always trust where our hearts lead us. Our desires will betray us, just like they did Abraham and David. We do not need much of what we think we want. But God will always lead us towards what we truly need.

Channing Gillespie’s song, “I Shall Not Want,” reminds us that we should not fear the future for God has always been faithful. We should not worry for He has and will always be enough. So let us join in this chorus inspired by Psalm 23, “From the pastures to the valley; I will remember all You have done; Lord You are my shepherd; And I shall not want; Lord You are my shepherd; And I shall not want.”

Channing and Jacob will be partnering again for the second annual NIGHT OF HOPE on September 25. Tickets have been graciously paid for by the community for the first 100 to register. We would love for you to be a part of this inspirational night of lecture, testimony, and songs of hope.

View the next devotional here.

Loving Through Loss

I find it comforting that Jesus wept. But, why would he weep? Didn’t he know he was about to raise his friend Lazarus from the dead? Why would he weep when he knows resurrection is coming? Why would he grieve to the point of sweating drops of blood in the garden before his crucifixion? Crucifixion was coming, yes. But so was resurrection. Here’s the reason, and it’s not poetic or profound, but it’s true. He wept because he was sad. He was hurt. He was in grief. And grief hurts. Even Jesus.

When my good friend lost their dad, I was seeking to make my condolences and offer my presence as a fellow sufferer. From experience, I know there is nothing/not much you can or should say in those situations. Most of the time nobody wants to have Job’s friends or to be Job’s friends amidst grief, although their presence is better than not trying. The best thing to do is to say, “I’m so sorry,” and offer your presence. My friend was struggling with the unexpected loss and didn’t know what to do with the pain. I said the only thing I could think of to him. “Let it hurt.”

Jesus wept because he was sad. His friend died. And death stings. Yes, it’s been defeated by Jesus, but the Revelation 21 consummation of his victory hasn’t been fully realized. So, Jesus wept for his friend because grief hurts. He sweat drops of blood not just because he was going to the cross, but also for the same reason he wept over Jerusalem. Because sin hurts. He was dying for real people’s sins. And the wages of sin is death. And many don’t even realize it. His death. For their life.

Here’s what I want you to consider. And to cling tightly to amidst your pain. Jesus wept, and so do you, not just because of the pain of loss, but because of something far greater. Something much longer lasting. Love. Love is the reason you can “let it hurt.”

The Disney+ Marvel Comics show WandaVision is unique in its depth of meaning for a superhero production. The show’s plot is centered around loss and the pain of grief. The main character created a whole new world (in a sense) to live in because she couldn’t handle the loss of her loved one and didn’t know how to deal with it. And it’s a world where he was still alive. I’m telling you this because of a profound line her loved one said. It gave me comfort amidst still grieving seven years after the loss of my twin sister. He said this: “What is grief but not love persevering?”

Grief is intense and long lasting because the love you have (not had) for that person is intense and true and deep and meaningful and real.

The Bible tells us that grief will last for the night. But, you know what will last forever? Love. So, for now, you can let it hurt.

If you would like to know more about grief and how to help someone through it, The Gospel Coalition recently posted “4 Ways to Love Someone Blindsided By Loss,” and it is one of the best articles I have read on the topic. I highly encourage you to read it.

“When the sorrows of this life threaten to overwhelm, his resurrection offers hope. But, perhaps even more powerfully, Jesus’s death reminds us of his intimate understanding and presence with us in suffering. Grieving people see their sorrows when they look at the cross.”

Leading Your Child Through Turbulent Times

I would like to offer some biblical and practical advice on how to parent well amidst pandemonium. Life is hard. No matter what age or stage of life you are in, there are trials and hardships. Though your child’s hardships look different than yours, and you might not even recognize theirs as actual hardships, they are real to your child. Their first heartbreak will wreck their world. The first real loss of a loved one will leave them questioning. Their first big disappointment will hurt them. But, all of these are teaching points that can train them to draw close to God throughout all the difficult times in their future. Also, there are turbulent times in our world that your child may not be aware of. For instance, the current polarization of our political climate and the state of moral decadence in our popular culture is affecting every aspect of life in a lot of ways, and children can be taught valuable lessons now that will affect how they view the world and impact the world when they are adults. As in most parenting, these conversations should come up “when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7) When those moments arise, which are more often than you realize, I pray you will do the following:

    • He is the creator of us and all things. (Psalm 104)
    • He died for our sins. [Sin is that bad.] (Romans 5:8)
    • He rose from the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
      • The worst thing that can happen to you has been defeated by Jesus.
    • He is called the helper/advocate/counselor/comforter by Jesus. (John 14:16, paraclete)
    • He convicts you of sin. (listen to His still, small voice) (John 16:8)
    • He empowers you to stand firm. (Acts 1:8)
    • You won’t always have this same struggle on this earth. (1 Peter 5:10)