Not Good News, but God’s News

Sometimes, the best thing we can tell someone is the “not good news” life brings. A friend is battling cancer, right now, and he’s losing the fight. A relative has chosen to leave her spouse, because she feels she deserves better. A church copes with the sin of a pastor who left them for another bride. All these things are happening. And, for someone, it’s not good news. But it is truth.

Jeremiah was pulled from the dungeon to come to the king’s chamber secretly. The king asked for news about what God was doing or saying. Jeremiah assured him the message had not changed: Babylon will defeat you.

Jeremiah: “A dungeon? Really? Why?”
Zedekiah: “What’s God up to? What’s he saying to you about me?”
Jeremiah: “All is lost. You will be defeated. There is no hope for rescue coming.”
Zedekiah: “No, I want to hear the good stuff God has to say.”
Jeremiah: “You aren’t listening. It’s all over.”

The truth hurts. The church is hurt by the truth about the wayward pastor. The spouse and kids suffer due to the truth of a selfish act. The first visit of a hospice worker pierces the hearts of the wife and kids (and friends.) God’s news can hurt.

The balance? God hurts with you. He knows the pain of loss, of abandonment, of rejection, of death. And because he knows, he hears. And he hears because he is near.
God’s news can be painful and “not good news;” but it’s always good news that he is near, he hears, and he knows.

Come and get me, come and get me…

I’m not sure it’s exactly a mathematical formula, but the closer we get to “old-ness” the deeper is our longing for eternity. Things that taste like heaven remind me that’s where I’m supposed to dine some day. Things that hint of eternity nudge me to think how unsatisfying it is “down here.” When God’s Kingdom flashes through the dark and touches me or someone I pray for, I’m drawn toward that brilliance, if just for a moment.

Susan and I watched “City Slicker 2” a few days ago. Setting aside all the vignettes for the stars (Lovitz’s impersonation of Rainman, Crystal’s conversation with the cow on the jogging path, etc.) the whole story is Billy Crystal’s consummate self-centeredness set against the total focus of Jack Palance’s character toward “getting Curly’s gold.” At one point, Palance’s hungry gaze looks over the wilderness and hears the gold calling, “come and get me.” It’s a frightening look he gives to the character: a man possessed by the big fever for gold.

I need an impassioned longing for real treasure! Not “Curly’s gold” but the stuff of heaven. And I need to accept that God passionately loves me. His love for me is totally full-time – no momentary flash of “I like Rick.” He loves me (and you, if you’ve chosen to believe how far He stretched to rescue you) with unrestrained passion.

Jesus was moving on in his mission with his followers, heading for death, looking toward the resurrection and the new way of relating to those He calls. He says to his loved ones on the week of his execution:

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” (John 14:1-3)

So, if you are troubled by the trouble? Trust that God has you life in the safe cup of his hand. If you feel the wonder when His eternity flashed into our time-consumed existence? He has a place beyond time that fits you perfectly – it’s under construction just like you are. Do you have a longing for knowing Him more intimately? Trust me: your longing to be with Him is only a smattering compared to His longing to have you with Him always. He longs to “come and get you (and me.)”

Eternally for Him