THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE JUDGMENT
“So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” (John 16:22)
We have sorrows in this life as well as joys. Solomon reflected on this nature of the fallen creation when he said, “there is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven— A time to give birth and a time to die...A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecc. 3:1-4). We see around us the good and the bad in everything. The bad we experience in life is not the way it was created to be, but because of the Fall, harm (evil) has been mixed into the fabric of God’s creation. Instead of continuing in its perfect goodness, there are now “seasons” on earth when the bad sweeps over the good like a winter storm. In these “seasons” we gain a glimpse of hell and a glimpse of heaven, for we all have had moments that feel like we’re touching Heaven, and we have times when we feel we are sinking into the very pits of hell.
Because of how sin has corrupted God’s good creation, the world should have been destroyed, but in His love and mercy, God provided it with a “stay of judgment,” for He continues to bring life and goodness into the world, making “His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45b). Why? Because, He “is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God’s merciful stay is to offer mankind a chance to escape the inevitable judgment upon the fallen world. This escape is a pardon obtained through His Son, Jesus Christ.
While the world likes to focus on the good things of life and tell us that everything will turn out alright, these are empty promises from a place that cannot escape the outcome of its own fallen nature—judgment. Thank God He didn’t leave us empty words for comfort that can’t change reality! He “swore by Himself” (Heb. 6:13b) that everything WILL turn out alright for those who have made peace with Him through Jesus, and since “it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled [to Jesus] for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us” (Heb. 6:18). For “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9b). Do you understand that God will not only restore things back to goodness for the future, but He will undo all the harm throughout all time that has ever been done in ways we can’t possibly imagine! Yes, “your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead” (Isa. 29:19), and God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).
While there is presently a season for everything on earth, God has promised that the day is close at hand for those who have made peace with Him through His Son when these seasons will pass away into an immeasurable joy “that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Peter 1:8b), which we taste even now in Jesus and which cannot fade or be taken from us.
May we consider that this present struggle of “life” is the closest a Believer will ever sink to hell, and it is the highest towards Heaven the non-believer will ever climb. May we hold fast to Jesus’ promise that while every Believer will grieve in this life, “your grief will be turned into joy” (John 16:20b). Amen.