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JOHN 11:25-26 (ESV)
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.’”
THE SEQUEL TO LIFE
If you have ever read a novel as part of a larger series, you may be familiar with the concept of ‘literary hope.’ The basis for this hope comes from the existence of a sequel which already features the same character. When such a book exists, the reader has confidence that no matter how grim circumstances appear, the character will survive the story’s climax and live to tell another tale. If they didn’t, there wouldn’t be another book!
You and I are not characters within a novel. We are people created in God’s image with histories, experiences and souls which are more beautiful and complex than any novel can explore or human mind can comprehend. Likewise, the joys and pains which we experience throughout our earthly life are real and do not always appear to makes sense.
However, the Bible encourages us to see ourselves from God’s perspective since He is the Author of Life. He knit you together in your mother’s womb and knows the number of your days (Ps. 139:13-16). He knows the intricacies of your thoughts, motives and talents (Ps. 139:4, Rom. 2:16, 1 Cor. 12:7). Because of His creative authority, we exist right now within a very complex, divine narrative which is for our good and God’s glory (Rom. 8:28).
In the midst of life’s pains, clinging to the sovereignty of God doesn’t always feel like it’s enough. Perhaps that is why our gracious God has already revealed to us portions of ‘His sequel’ throughout the pages of Scripture.
Notice what Jesus said to Martha as she was grieving her brother’s death and questioning Jesus’ timing. He said, “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” He wasn’t just giving her a hint that in just a few moments he would call Lazarus out of the grave. He was reminding her that there is life beyond the threshold of death. It is a life which is certain for those who believe in Jesus (v26). It is a place of ‘paradise’ with unique dwelling places which exist within the presence of God the Father (Lk. 23:43, Jn 14:2).
Considering this ‘heavenly country’ and ‘divine city’ helped our forefathers in the faith preserve in the midst of tremendous trials (Heb. 11:16). It reminded them that this world was not their final home and that God has a better place which is beyond our comprehension (1 Cor. 2:9).
Our real experiences with suffering can take a new perspective when we consider that there is a sequel to life.
Our hope can grow even stronger when we remember that Jesus is more than just the author who knows what lies ahead. He is the resurrection right now (v25). Heaven will be wonderful someday, but Jesus is wonderful today. His peace, His life and His abiding presence will never leave or forsake those who have taken refuge in Him.
Are you suffering in any way? Keep returning to Jesus and your strength will be renewed.
Lord, empower us to look ahead to the grandeur of heaven while also clinging to You as the resurrection and life who is available to His people immediately. Through Jesus, Amen!