The Christian journey leads beyond the millennium, into eternity.
Rev. 22: 3-4 gives a glimpse of this new paradigm. Five things are revealed
1. – In eternity there is absolutely no more curse; not personal or global ones.
2. – The throne of God Almighty will move from heaven to earth.
3. – For the first time we will be able to look at God’s face and not die.
4. – We will receive amazing assignments as ambassadors in his service.
5. – God’s name will be on our foreheads; our thoughts will be God thoughts.
Phil. 1: 6 tells us that God, who begun a good work in us will continue it and complete it in preparation for the day of Christ’s return. All things will work out for good. Jesus is both the author and finisher of our faith and he will make our calling and election sure. The journey between here and eternity however, does not come with a smooth ride guarantee.
Being disillusioned, feeling discouraged, facing disappointments and even experiencing devastation, cannot be avoided in this life. We are given grace to get around, climb over and go through these nasty moments, but none have the luxury of avoiding them.
We find this pattern in the life of Peter. The Apostle Peter was Jesus’ leading disciple; not because he was the sharpest knife in the drawer, but because he was always first to step out of the box – or the boat. I think he was great, albeit a little clumsy. He was a man set for adventure, a fisherman made an apostle. He walked as one with Rabbi Jesus, assisting in miracles and claiming celebrity status by association. He expected to see Jesus become king and he saw himself as the Lord’s right-hand man. Together they were invincible. Have you ever felt that good, like you were riding on top of the world?
Peter’s world however, came crashing down. In the garden he led with the sword, slicing off the ear of one who came to apprehend Christ. He did his best to serve and protect Christ, but Jesus healed the man and submitted himself to the incarceration. A bewildered Peter followed as Jesus was violently abused. He lost his footing and even betrayed the Lord three times – even to a little slave girl. He didn’t like himself after that. Then he saw his champion beaten, flogged and crucified. The bottom fell out from under Peter’s feet. His expectations were crushed and he was totally devastated. He went back to fishing.
As I look back over my own life in the ministry, I can think of 6 separate times when it felt as though my world fell apart and I did not know how I would make it through.
I remember coming home, lying on the floor curled up in ball. The loss and pain was so intense that I could not speak or even pray. All I could do was moan in agony and whisper the name Jesus.
Loss and pain can render a person completely empty. It can happen when loved ones die, especially children or when ministry crashes, careers are ruined, people face divorce, betrayal, bankruptcy, severe accidents, physical violations or they lose love because of rejection from family and close friends. At those times, people may feel that God has totally abandoned them or is punishing them. Many lose hope, confidence and even their faith. They feel as if everything they did was for nothing, and even wonder if God really exists.
As common as this is, when it happens, it doesn’t seem to matter who else has gone through it. Some feel they can never recover. They learn to survive, but they do not get back up on the horse.
A woman named Rose went to finish her bachelor’s degree at a US college when she was 85 years old. She soon became an inspiration and somewhat of an icon at the school. In her final school year she spoke at the college football banquet. She said to the rough, young men in attendance, “Whatever you do – stay in the game (of life). Everyone gets older. Even if you lie in bed for a year, you will get one year older. That is no great achievement. Some however, stop growing up, because they quit the game of life.” She said, “the way to stay in the game includes: 1. Finding humor every day, 2. Never stop dreaming, 3. Find opportunities in the changes of life,
4. Always accomplish some tasks and goals.”
Rose received her degree at age 87 and died a week after graduating. 2000 people attended her funeral.
I feel sorrow for those who cannot recover from their fall. You are getting older, but are you growing up in the things of the Spirit? It is time to serve God in the second round.
Following his resurrection, Jesus went after Peter. He got in his face and 3 times asked him, “Peter do you love me?” Peter just wanted to be left alone. The bridge had been washed out and he had no confidence anymore. He did not know that the book of Acts was about to be written and that he would become a major player in the new release of God’s Spirit on the earth.
Derek Prince did not write his first book until he was fifty and did not have a radio program until he was sixty. He suffered with horrendous bouts of depression for most of his life, but not in the latter years of his ministry. He got back up on the horse again and again and God used him to touch millions in the Christian world. Before his great fall, Peter was a foot soldier, but afterward he emerged as a general. Like Peter, God is calling you to mature partnership. Your call and election are sure. Go for it again. Press into God. Seek to serve him. Whatever you do, stay in the game. Remember, Christ will complete the good work that he began in you.