A young woman I’ve been helping this year asked me the other day, “Ms. Jones, If your life were to end right now, in this moment, and you were taken up to Jesus immediately to see Him face-to-face, what would be the first question you ask Him?”
She had asked the question so earnestly, I wanted to know what was really on her mind, so I returned it to her, “I know what I would say, but I want to hear what you would ask Him first?”
She seemed taken aback by my response. Her eyes started tearing up. Her throat started working. It took her a minute to get all her words out, but she eventually said, “I would ask Him, why, when I was empty, didn’t He reveal Himself to me.”
“And what makes you so certain He hasn’t revealed Himself to you,” I replied instantly.
She looked stunned by my question. “You don’t understand, Ms. Jones… I’m sooo empty.
“You think I don’t know emptiness? Barrenness?” We were standing outside my office building – a standard Manhattan skyscraper – during lunch hour rush. I flung my hand towards the building, “The only thing I have to look forward to each day is coming to work. It’s the only place someone is expecting me to show up day in and day out. But if I know anything, I know that my job is nothing in the whole scheme of things. So essentially the only thing I have to look forward to each day is worthless. Is that not emptiness…barrenness…loneliness? I also know that there’s a reason for everything. I’m not in your life by chance. And you need to know that you’re helping me on my walk as much as I’m helping you on yours. Jesus is present. If you don’t believe He’s in every moment of your day, you’re going to be overwhelmed by your emptiness.
“Now to answer your question… If I were to come face to face with Jesus right now,” my eyes locked on her eyes, “my first words would be, ‘It was all worth it.’
“It’s interesting to me that you think you would be taking the trouble of this world into the next with you. You need to learn how to let things go. Now. Today. You’re holding on to too much. When I’m standing in front of Jesus, that means everything else has passed away. I will know that every trial, every attack, every censure, every setback worked to my good. Romans 8:28 tells us if we love God, everything will work to the good of those He calls according to His purpose. You need to know and believe that. So the hardship you have today is tomorrow’s blessing. At least, that’s how I view my difficulties.”
Life is not meant to be easy – it’s meant to bring us closer in proximity and likeness to Jesus Christ. If we give up in the midst of a battle, we’re giving up on our Lord and Savior, because even as His Holy Spirit is with us through it all, Jesus is waiting just across the finish line for us to push through to victory. A victory He has already achieved for us.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. ~ Romans 8:18-21
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. ~ Romans 8:28-30