The Final Chapter is Not Final
Posted in Anger/Frustration
The Final Chapter is Not Final
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9
There are some things I remember keenly about a hot and muggy August day back in 1962. Our Junior High Fellowship went on an outing to Sesquicentennial State Park on the 25th of August. In those days, churches rarely had a van or a bus, so mothers would volunteer to help transport youth and children to special events. My mother drove our family car that day. I rode with a friend’s mother, but my brothers- Earl and John David, ages nine and four, rode in our family car.
We had a delightful day of swimming and playing softball not to mention the wonderful food prepared by the mothers of the youth. When it was time to depart, I announced to my mother and friends that I was driving home. In those days, one could get a driver’s permit at 14.
My mother poured cold water on my pronouncement by saying something like, “You’ll drive home over my dead body.” Mothers have a way of messing up our plans. I responded to her chilling remarks by saying, “You are the meanest mother in the world, and I hate you.” Little did I know that these words would be the last words that I ever spoke to my mother.
The Apostle Paul said, “Be angry, but do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” (Ephesians 4:26) How I wish I knew the meaning of Paul’s words in those days, and I wish I could take those hateful, teenage words back and bury them in the sands of time.
Angry with my mother for refusing to allow me to show off my driving skills to my adolescent buddies, I rode home with my best friend and his mother. After we arrived at the churchyard, I stood all alone waiting for my mother to pick me up. One hour… one hour and a half. Finally, a familiar car pulled up revealing the friendly face of a neighbor, whose countenance was distraught. She told me my mother and brother were killed instantly in an automobile/train accident.
Each of us has a chapter in his or her life where pain poisons peace and prosperity. But the Gospel’s promise was not necessarily one of health and prosperity. It was the promise of sustenance in the midst of afflictions.
How does one endure; how does one fulfill life’s calling when plagued by such pain? John Calvin writes in his commentary on Acts 13: “And there is no doubt that if our faith is properly founded on God and strikes its root deeply in his Word, and finally, if it is made thoroughly secure by the protection of the Spirit, as it ought to be, it will foster peace and spiritual joy in our minds, even when the whole world is in an uproar.” If I understand Calvin, it seems to me that he managed his pain through the grace of God, which is received through the power of God’s Word and Holy Supper.
Grace is the power which Christ gives to us when we experience human pain and struggles so that we can courageously face and endure life’s problems. Grace is Christ’s power to help us. So, by God’s grace, the final chapter is not final.
Prayer: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you now and forevermore. Amen.
Submitted by Judy Holmes