Reading Time: 6 minutes“One Thing Thou Lackest”
Earlier this week, a friend posited some questions/concerns that he called: “Does Jesus Disappoint?” I can totally relate to the challenging questions about disappointment, and lost dreams. I thought that everyone on this email list might be interested in a portion of my response. Details have been obscured for privacy.
Questions about being disappointed by God bring to my mind the following:
“Please let me go over and see the good land that is beyond the Jordan, that fine mountain, and Lebanon.” (Deut 3:25)
Light In The Clouds
Here, Moses had stood gazing upon the Land of Promise as he uttered this prayer. But because of his sin at Meribah, it was not in the cards for him to enter there. The joy of leading the host of Israel into the inheritance of their fathers, was not part of God’s plan for Moses. . The agonized entreaty of Moses, “I pray Thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon” (Deuteronomy 3:25), was refused. The hope that for forty years had lighted up the darkness of the desert wanderings of Moses was in the end, denied. It must have been a terrible disappointment for Moses.
However, “there is always a little Light.” While God knows our every fault and mistake; He delights in forgiveness and mercy; But He who is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20), had in this measure of saying no to Moses, still answered His servant’s prayer. He did not gloss over the disappointment. But while Moses passed under the dominion of death, yet he was not to remain in the tomb.
The prayer of Moses recorded in these two verses, and his own reflections on it, Deut 3:26, are very affecting. He had suffered much both in body and mind in bringing the people to the borders of the promised land; and it was natural enough for him to wish to see them established in it, and to enjoy a portion of that inheritance himself, which he knew was a type of the heavenly country. But notwithstanding his very earnest prayer, and God’s especial favor towards him, he was not permitted to go over Jordan! He had grieved the Spirit of God, and he passed a sentence against him of exclusion from the promised land.
Yet he permitted him to see it, and gave him the fullest assurances that the people whom he had brought out of Egypt should possess it. Thus God may choose to deprive those of us with earthly possessions to whom he is nevertheless determined to give a heavenly inheritance. Christ Himself called Moses forth to life. The devil had tried to claim the body of Moses because of his sin; but Christ the Saviour brought him forth from the grave.(Jude 9). Moses upon the mount of transfiguration was a witness to Christ’s sufficient and continuing victory over sin and death.
We may, like Moses have some disappointment in our dealings with God; yet our Jesus delights in mercy; and desires us to see heaven, together. Its very significant that the Bible uses this word “together” when talking about the resurrection. Moses has represented those who shall come forth from the grave at the resurrection:
1Th 4:13 But we don’t want you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those who have fallen asleep, so that you don’t grieve like the rest, who have no hope.1Th 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.1Th 4:15 For this we tell you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep.1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with God’s trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise first,1Th 4:17 then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever.1Th 4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thes 4:13-18).
The Bible says “the dead know not anything…” (Eccl 9:5). How would my loved one already be in heaven; if she is waiting for the resurrection? There is no other text in scripture that says to do that; and so in my grief and disappointment, as I watch the life-current ebbing away from my loved one, we dont say “Oh she’ll be in heaven…” because if that were true, heaven would not be a place without tears.(Rev 21:14). Our loved ones could see whats happening to us down here, and they would be very sad to watch us mourn and cry over their death. The resurrection IS our hope IN Christ. The key word of the resurrection IS TOGETHER. These are the very words that we comfort one another with. We have “this hope.” (Heb 6:19). And wherever THIS hope graces the heart and soul, “there is always a little light.” Every night when we pray; we thank Jesus for the hope & promise of THE resurrection. That is where our hope is.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Cor 1:3-4)
I share this, in the simple hope that has been getting us through a very trying, sometimes very disappointing time. Cancer or other illness only temporarily takes away the kind of “together” referred to in the resurrection. The resurrection is our Hope. When the resurrection happens; I wont need to worry about going to heaven before any loved ones who died, nor will they go before me; and have to watch me suffer “down here:” There isnt a single verse in scripture which tells us to comfort one another with the thought that our loved ones have already gone ahead of us; for that would contradict the hope of the resurrection.
1Th 4:15 Our Lord Jesus told us that when he comes, we won’t go up to meet him ahead of his followers who have already died. 1Th 4:16 With a loud command and with the shout of the chief angel and a blast of God’s trumpet, the Lord will return from heaven. Then those who had faith in Christ before they died will be raised to life. 1Th 4:17 Next, all of us who are still alive will be taken up into the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the sky. From that time on we will all be with the Lord forever. (1 Thes 4:15-17, CEV).
When I look at those clouds; when I look at my clouds; I see Jesus:
1 Thes 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Thes 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Even today, we can meet the Lord in the clouds of our experience; for He has promised:
Gen 28:15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.Heb 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money; and be satisfied with what you have; for God himself has said, “I will never fail you or abandon you.”
Is your life one of disappointment? What do you see in your clouds?
The resurrection is about us all, finally being TOGETHER with Jesus. We meet Him TOGETHER in the clouds, and this is why this web site is called “Light In The Clouds.”
1Th 4:17 then we who are left still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord. 1Th 4:18 So encourage each other with these words.
We have a living, risen Saviour. He burst the fetters of the tomb after He had lain there three days, and in triumph. He proclaimed over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, “I am the resurrection and the life.” And He is coming. Are we getting ready for Him? Do we see Jesus in our clouds? Do we see Jesus in other people’s clouds? Are we ready so that if we shall fall asleep, we can do so with hope in Jesus Christ?
Are you laboring for the salvation of your brothers and sisters? The Life-giver is soon to come. The Life-giver is coming to break the fetters of the tomb. He is to bring forth the captives and proclaim, “I am the resurrection and the life.” There stands the risen host. The last thought was of death and its pangs. The last thoughts they had were of the grave and the tomb, but now they proclaim, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” The pangs of death were the last things they felt. “O death, where is thy sting?” The last thing they acknowledged was the pangs of death.
When they awake the pain is all gone. When our departed loved one awakes, the next thing they will see is Jesus. TOGETHER.