Sometimes We Wait

Whenever I heard Romans 8:28 quoted, I believed the Apostle Paul was referring to life here on earth. But now that I've lost my husband, I'm forced to take a closer look at this verse. I know God's Word is true, but how can this verse apply to my life when I've lost the irreplaceable? If a parent loses a child, how can this verse still apply to their lives? Even if they gained ten more children, not one of them could replace what was lost. We read in the book of Job about the terrible loss Job experienced. I'm glad God restored his losses, but I imagine Job could never feel the depth of joy he had before. In the deepest part, there must have remained longing and emotional scars. His children, who he had once raised, loved, and enjoyed, were not returned to him in this life.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28

One of the things I learned from my husband was how more accurately to interpret the Bible. For years, we pastored an international church. We lived in a university town, and people from 28+ different countries attended our services. We also ministered and lived for several years in what was a foreign land for us. It forced us to broaden our understanding of God and the Bible. If the interpretation of Scripture only applies to a few, then our insight is wrong. In other words, if how we interpret a Bible verse only applies to middle-class or wealthy Americans, but not to the homeless or those living in war-torn countries or sitting in prison cells for sharing the Gospel, then our interpretation is incorrect.

Romans 8:28 is hard to accept in light of the pain we sometimes see Christians suffering at the end of their lives. Despite loving God, they won't see all things work together for good in their lives. Does that mean God's Word isn't true? Of course not. It means our interpretation is incorrect. I'm certainly not a Bible scholar or theologian, but in my simple understanding, I realize God never spoke as though this life is all there is. There are countless blessings we won't reap until we reach eternity. But eternity lasts a lot longer. I’d rather receive my greatest blessings where time never ends.

“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised on the third day.” And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, this is the one who will save it. For what good does it do a person if he gains the whole world, but loses or forfeits himself?

Luke 9:23-25 NASB

Jesus' life on earth was not an easy one. He had enemies who followed him around and even infiltrated into his close-knit group of friends. Jesus knew they were there, but it didn't deter him from obeying the Father. In the end, he was falsely accused, condemned to die, and his death was excruciating. So I must ask myself a hard question, and so must you. But the answer to this question will determine our attitude while facing disappointment, heartbreak, disease, lost dreams, violence, etc. When things are at their worst, am I still willing to trust God?

These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 NASB

Jesus told us we would face tribulation in this life. He never promised it would be easy. Only by casting our cares on Him does our burden become lighter. If the worst happens but you choose to trust God, He is faithful to help you carry the load. Jesus never said that there would be "no" burden. He only said that as we cast our cares on Him, our burden would be light.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is comfortable, and My burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 NASB

Sometimes our blessings are immediate. I've experienced times of such exceeding joy and blessings in my life. It almost didn't seem fair when others were suffering. I didn't complain, of course. I savored those times and praised God. I enjoyed excellent health, provision, a dream-come-true marriage, happy children, safety, and a home that was a haven of rest. These were all gifts I never took for granted. But now that God—in His unfathomable love, knowledge, compassion, and benevolence—allowed me to lose one of my most cherished blessings, would I continue to trust Him and even praise Him? Would I still believe God "causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose"? Did you notice the emphasis in that verse? His purpose, not my own. He knows what's best. God's plans are for all eternity. 

And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us so that apart from us they would not be made perfect. Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 11:39-40 and 12:1-2 NASB

Like Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Gideon, Rahab, Samuel, and so many others who walked this life before us, are we willing to endure the cross and continue trusting that all things will work together for good even if we do not receive it in our lifetime? Are you okay with receiving your reward in eternity and not on earth if that is what the Lord requires of you?

That was the question staring me in the face after I lost Curt. With tears pouring down my face, I said, "Yes." And then I asked the Lord to come back soon. Ha! Today or tomorrow would be great. Let's get this suffering over and done. But what if God makes me wait? What if I have many more years with this homesickness in the pit of my stomach? Will I keep my eyes on eternity? I would hate to have to wait that long, but, yes, even then, Jesus. Even then, I will continue to trust as you give me grace and strength to do so. I cast my cares on You because you care for me.

Ambassadors of Truth

If you truly represent his kingdom,
you will be a light in dark places.
Keep burning brightly.

If you truly represent his kingdom,
you will be a pure stream flowing into a muddy river.
Don't get absorbed.

If you truly represent his kingdom,
you will speak the truth when the world screams louder.
Keep talking.

If you truly represent his kingdom,
you will not always be understood.
Know him and understand yourself.

If you truly represent his kingdom,
you will find contentment amidst a very discontented people.
Keep smiling.

Curt Dalaba
©October, 2005

By

Anneliese Dalaba

January 19, 2022