Photo by Chungkuk Bae on Unsplash
“It’s going to be okay.”
I recently told my husband that he can no longer say this to me when I am discouraged, anxious, or forecasting the demise of some aspect of my life (as I am apt to do at times).
I’ve always hated when people say, “It’s going to be okay.” I want to slap them.
“How do you know?” I wonder.
How, in the middle of this really stinky moment in my life can you offer this platitude? (Trust me, I’ve had it offered to me at really, really stinky moments).
But lately, I feel like God keeps telling me exactly that, “It’s going to be okay.”
Really, God? Is it really going to be okay? How can you say that? When I’m sitting here waiting to hear the news that could be life-changing, it doesn’t feel like it will be okay if it doesn’t turn out the way I hope. When we’re staring down disappointment, broken dreams, loss, shalom shattered, sometimes it doesn’t feel like it will ever be okay.
But He repeats: It’s going to be okay. Here’s how I know.
It’s going to be okay. Why?
This past week at church, we talked about Jesus raising Lazarus. When Lazarus falls ill, they send for Jesus by saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” I don’t send for people that way, but maybe I should, like, “Erik, the wife whom you love needs a foot massage.”
But that’s what defined their relationship. And just to be clear, John reiterates it in verse 5, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” Ah, so it wasn’t just them thinking he loved them. He really did. Our speaker pointed out how important it was to preface the story this way because, in the middle of the not okay that was coming, it would be easy to doubt.
It’s easy for us too.
He loves us
It’s going to be okay because He loves us. That’s the anchor where we sink our souls when life doesn’t look the way we feel it should. The God who loves us more than life is in it.
So it’s going to be okay. But not just okay. It’s going to be good.
Oh, but not necessarily good in the way we think it should be good. And that’s the problem.
The problem is that my idea of good is so focused on my comfort and happiness, focused on tangible, temporal things. In my world, the news is always what I hoped it would be. Jesus shows up in my time and my ways.
He is good
But It’s going to be good because He is good, and His purposes toward us are for our good. He is focused on our character and sanctification, on intangible, eternal things. He shows up in His time and His ways, that are so much better than ours.
His good is so much bigger. It’s a good grounded in the deepest love we can imagine, always working on our behalf.
It’s good in the way that Jesus didn’t just save Lazarus from illness, he raised him from the dead. That’s a better story.
He’s writing a good story
And that’s what I also know. It’s going to be okay because God is a good author. He is a good storyteller. He is writing a good story for us. And the story ends well.
We won’t see them as good stories if we hold too tightly to our idea of good. In my version of life, disappointment, broken dreams, and loss are not part of the story. But what kind of story would it be if everything was perfect?
A boring story, that’s what. The best stories have conflict. They have twists and turns and nail biting, “What will happen?” moments. And God’s writing the best story for each of us.
The stories God writes are stories of redemption. You can’t have redemption if you don’t have shalom shattered. You can’t have resurrection without death.
Easter demonstrates His love for us. It is a testimony to God working good on our behalf. The story is one of triumph over the greatest enemy. He made everything okay.
We say this Friday is good, but it didn’t feel good to the disciples. It felt like the end of all their hopes. Disappointment. Broken dreams. Loss. It didn’t feel like it was going to ever be okay.
They didn’t know Sunday was coming. But God knew.
He knew that it was all for love. It was the greatest story ever written. All for us.
So when I slip into bed and anxious thoughts nag at my brain, I call to mind instead His voice telling me, “It’s going to be okay.” As I think about our son heading off to college this summer, and all the unknowns that go with that, He whispers, “It’s going to be okay.” I sigh my latest dilemma to my husband, and I hear him catch himself before he says it, but I nod, and say, “You’re right. It’s going to be okay.”
When life feels like Friday, it’s going to be okay, because Sunday’s coming.
He loves us. Everything is working for our good. The story ends well. Maybe not today, or tomorrow. Maybe not until we see Him. But it’s going to be okay.
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