Jesus was always focused on the results. Think about it. Just go through the gospels. He’s always focusing on the end of things, whether it’s the end of a day’s labor, the end of one’s life, or the end of the world. Every story He starts about sowing seeds, He finishes with the harvest. Whenever He brings up the subject of trees, fig trees or whatever, He finishes up by talking about the fruit, the end result.
Jesus was always urging us to see that whatever we do here, has results out there in heaven. The state we are in on earth is necessary to reach the state we want in heaven.
This is exactly why Jesus spent so much time and so much energy emphasizing the end-of-time perspective. The Lord had come from heaven, and He knew how wonderful it was. And so, He was always focusing on the end results – the harvest of the crop, the fruit from the tree, the close of the day’s labor, the profit from the investment, the house that stands the storm. He knew that our fascination with the here and now would have to be subdued. How else could He tell to those who mourn, “You are blessed”? How else could He tell the persecuted to be happy? How else could He remind His followers facing torture to “count it all joy”?
Scripture is constantly trying to get us to look at the end results. Your pain and mine will be erased by a greater understanding, it will be eclipsed by a glorious result. Something so superb, so grandiose is going to happen at the world’s finale, that it will suffice for every hurt and atone for every heartache. In the meantime, the Bible keeps driving home the point that our life is like grass, a wisp of smoke. It talks about life as though it were but a blip on the eternal screen.
Nothing more radically altered the way I looked at my suffering than leapfrogging to this end-of-time vantage point. Heaven became my greatest hope. In fact, I wondered how other people could possibly face quadriplegia, cancer, or a death in the family without the hope of heaven. It meant no more wallowing away hours by the farmhouse window, scorning Romans 8:28 and muttering, “How can it say all things fit together into a pattern for good in my life?” God’s pattern for my earthly good may have felt painful, but I could grab hold of the fact that the end result in heaven would exude a fragrance and a glorious aroma: Christ in me, the hope of glory.
It’s all a matter of time. “God makes all things beautiful in His time.” And for many, they won’t see the beauty until the end of time. Time solves the dilemma of Romans 8:28, as well as all the other problems of evil, suffering and pain. It’s a perspective that separates what is unreal from what is real. All the numbing heartache and deep disappointment, all the hardship of the day’s labor, will have a result. Your tree will bear fruit. Your investment will have a return. The seed you plant here will have a harvest there. You can count on it: Jesus is very interested in results.
Previously aired on 4/25/95 as program #3387 and 1/15/01 as program #4881
Used with Permission. www.joniandfriends.org © Joni and Friends