Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

4.02.2010

The Final Chapter

Are you a skipper-aheader? Do you ever dutifully begin at the beginning of a book, only to bog down in the middle as the author goes into ecstasies over his own literary voice and spends a chapter describing the phenomenon of dirt? At moments like those, do you just have to skip ahead and read the last page—just to make sure the book is worth it? Just to make sure you’re not wasting valuable time? You don’t really learn anything you didn’t already suspect—the guy gets the girl and the dirt gets scooped up by a giant alien spaceship exposing the inner core of the earth, leaching radiation, and killing everyone.

Yeah. Surprises like that are why I abhor skipping ahead. In fact, if you are a skipper-aheader, I request full disclosure in the comment section below, because such a quality will require serious introspection on my part as to whether or not our relationship can continue. The joy of reading a book or watching a movie is as much in the journey as it is in the conclusion. Sure—maybe you did know the guy was going to get the girl from the first sentence, but don’t try to tell me you saw the alien invasion coming!

I’m a non-skipper-aheader in life, too. Sometimes, I do think it would be handy to know if I’m marrying and who I’m marrying, or when I’m dying and how I’m dying, or if I’ll ever be brave enough to add highlights to my hair. Generally speaking, though, where’s the fun in that? If I knew my life story before I lived it, I’d be too busy preparing for the milestones and to intent on dreading the tragedies that I wouldn’t be able to love the life God has given me.

If Joni Eareckson Tada knew that that dive would paralyze her for life, would she have jumped? If she hadn’t jumped, though, would she have reached the countless thousands she has? Seeing into the future could be complicated. If Peter, the apostle, knew that he would die a brutal death on the cross, doesn’t it seem likely that he would have kept right on denying Christ? Seeing into the future could be devastating.

Did you ever think, though, that Jesus was the author of the story He lived? That He wrote the ending to His story? As a child, listening and asking questions in the temple, He knew that one day that same group of people would scheme to crucify Him. When He chose Judas to be one of the elite twelve, He knew that that act gained Him a traitor who would seal His fate. As He lovingly healed the masses, oblivious to His own needs and desires, He knew that their joyful chants of praise would someday soon turn to ugly cries of “Barabbas!” as they chose a murderer over their Messiah. How could He have enjoyed that triumphant entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey as crowds shouted “Hosanna”? The journey into Jerusalem was a deliberate step into the trap He knew was being set for Him.

You see, Jesus knew the last chapter of His life. He had an internal clock, ticking down each second, minute, hour, and day—each span of time bringing Him that much closer to the torture we can’t even imagine. If I had been Him, I would have lived my entire life with a nervous knot of dread in my stomach. Each morning, I would wake up with a vague riddle gnawing at me, until my sleep-fogged brain suddenly solved the puzzle—I was one day closer to a brutal death on the cross for a world that didn’t even want to need me. And then I would resolve to live each day with the selfish hoarding of a miser, leeching all the fun and entertainment out of life I could, because soon I would be suffering for sins I didn’t commit.

Jesus, though, didn’t do that. The Man Who relieved so many of suffering and raised so many from the dead knew the last chapter of His life on earth—but He still lived the preceding chapters just as unselfishly and victoriously as if He didn’t know. The man Who wronged no one and loved everyone knew all along that He would die at their hands, because of their sins.

Yet, He still made the choice to die. He agonized—He pleaded with God for some other way—He wept human tears—He perspired human blood. “Abba Father!” He pleaded. “All things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me (Mark 14:36a).” The dread, the pain, and the suffering all seemed so much to bear. So unfair! “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground (Luke 22:44).” Who could have blamed Him for running out of Gethsemane as fast as His legs could take Him? But He didn’t. After all the anguish, He abandoned Himself to God’s will—He surrendered His life to the last chapter. “Nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will (Mark 14:36b).”

He made the choice.
He knew all along.
Did that make it harder or easier?
You tell me.



Picture Credit
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

6 comments:

  1. Hi Mikaela! (btw, I knew it was you writing before I finished the first paragraph--you guys really do have different styles, lol. :)
    I DO NOT skip ahead, especially not to the last page--that would ruin everything! The most I will skip is a page or two, if it's boring..like, about dirt. :)

    I have thought about that fact that Jesus knew all along what would happen, but I hadn't thought it through as much as you did. It hadn't hit me that He knew even when He was a child, and that He wrote His own story.

    Don't you just get totally speechless when you think about what God did for us, and how much He must love us? That's the way I feel right now. We just don't have words in the English language meaningful and strong enough. Makes me glad we'll be singing "a new song" in Heaven! :)
    Plus we'll have eternity to praise God. I think that's because it's just not possible to ever praise Him enough.

    Happy Resurrection Day to you guys!
    love!
    Kelsey :o)

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  2. Hey Mikaela! I completely agree with you! NO skipping ahead in anything! I love suspense, surprise, and the end is so rewarding when you wait for the right time. I don't even like to open all of my birthday gifts on the same day because I like to draw out the suspense. :)

    I loved how you brought up the part about Jesus. Yes, he knew everything and the amazing part is that he loved us enough to do what he did, and go through with the entire plan.

    Thanks for the great post!
    ~Jacqueline

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  3. Kelsey, a Godly older woman and I were just talking this past week about how here on earth all good things must come to an end--but they won't in heaven! I don't think our brains can begin to comprehend the glory of eternally praising God.
    Jacqueline, I can't believe that you even wait on birthday presents! That is too hilarious. =)
    Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  4. No, I don't skip ahead when I read. I read every last sentence of pretty much everything I read...which is why I don't really get much reading done. :-)

    These are some interesting thoughts you've got here. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Harder I guess. I feel like I'm being called to the mission field in a country that is hostile to Christians. I know that I should submit to God's will and not my own but human fear has me wishing it could be another way.

    The fact that Jesus felt the same way and submited to God anyway makes it harder because I know if He can submit, He can make it possible for me to as well. I guess it's just a question of who I fear more. God or man?

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  6. Peanut Butter Pie (now I'm hungry for my Mama's delicious Hershey Peanut Butter Pie)--I'm praying for you! You are fighting this difficult internal battle, but it sounds as though you already know the answer, and are close to reaching an outcome! God bless you.

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