I posted a photo on Instagram this morning:
There is hope on the horizon.
In a world where we cling to “He works all things together for good” truth as a security blanket for our white-knuckle faith, there is hope on the horizon.
When death seems to win. And cancer seems to win. And tragedy overwhelms. And the answer to years-long prayers are still so far out of reach. When His disciples stood by, watching their beloved Messiah take His final breaths, knowing that inside they screamed from the core of them. “Why?! Why THIS? HOW is this Your plan? And WHERE is your glory in this?? It. Can’t. End. This. Way.” He redeems the time. And He rises from the dead. And He works it all out for good until those nagging and heartbreaking questions are well with you. And He breathes life into our darkness. And forgiveness into our sin.
It does not end here. Hope is on the horizon.
Ever since I posted the photo, something’s been nagging at me. Something that I brushed over quickly and didn’t explain fully. A treasure that I hit upon this morning, and one that He wants to provide the treasure map for. So you can see it. And dig it up for yourself.
Four years ago, I sat in the middle of worship with 200 other women at a conference I would be speaking at the next morning when the worship leader began to sing that old, familiar song. It is well with my soul, she sang. And the other women sang. And hands were raised up high in honor of a God Who sits on high. And the tears rolled down my cheeks. And the minute I could get out of there, I beelined it straight back to my room, where I crumbled onto the bathroom floor and cried. No, no, no, no, no, I whispered between sobs. It is not well with my soul. THIS is NOT well with me. And I sat there like that until I could muster the strength to know that someday… eventually… it would be. It just wasn’t then.
Six weeks later, my best friend lost her battle with cancer.
It’s ok to say that, you know. To be honest. And brave in your vulnerability. When the words are printed on mugs and burned into signs and lettered on chalkboards, paired with cheerful flowers and jaw-dropping photography. It’s ok to say “you know what? It’s NOT well with me. And this? This awful thing that I cannot fathom any good coming from? It’s not ok with me. But I have to know that some day… it will be.”
When Jesus took His last, torturous breaths on that cross, you can guarantee that it WASN’T well with His disciples. Or with His mother that was there watching the awful scene. Or the people just standing by that knew deep down inside that He was GOD. They could tell just by looking at Him.
… but how could it end this way?
so that it is well with them
As I wrote this morning’s Instagram post, I thought of Romans 8:28. A verse that, if I’m being honest, sometimes makes me cringe. Because it’s used too flippantly. And frequently. A bandaid carelessly thrown with the best intentions at a heart that’s torn cavernously open and will never go back together quite the same again.
But it was still there. The words echoing loudly as they came tumbling out through my tapping fingers. There was something deeper, hidden there. I just knew it. So I tapped my home screen and opened the Blue Letter Bible app. And this is the road map to my fistfuls of gold dust treasure:
1. In the BLB app, tap the open book symbol at the top of the screen and search for Romans 8:28:
2. Tap on verse 28 when it opens, and then “Interlinear / Concordance”:
3. Scroll down until you see the phrase “work together”, and tap the blue italicized word synergeō:
4. Scroll down and tap on the phrase “Tap to see Thayer’s Lexicon”:
Right there, in the middle of the Thayer’s Greek Lexicon definition, is our treasure.
For those that love God, He, coworking, provides all things for good or so that it is well with them. In other words, He is working with us. Through the suffering. And weakness. Through the groaning. And the wordless prayers. All the things that are described in the verses leading up that that one giant golden nugget. If we love Him, and are called according to His purpose, He will work with us. And work with us. And work with us. Until it is well with us.
Eventually, three days later, the disciples saw the empty tomb with their bare eyes. I can only imagine the glory that surrounded that moment. But I can also imagine the days that followed. When they reminded themselves that yes, the Man they believed to be the Messiah was, in fact, God. But they also missed their friend. And mentor. The Man they spent day in and day out with. The Man they did life with. I bet they missed Him dearly.
But even through that lingering sorrow, the kind that is always sort of with you and never really goes away, soon… eventually… it was well with them.