Friday, September 5, 2008

The Length of a Verse

The house is quiet. This is not the norm for 5:30 in the evening.

It's date night!!!

The boys left with Kristin at 4:30 and the girls left at 5 with Sarah. Well, almost. Rachel fell asleep 5 minutes before Sarah came so I'll be dropping her off later.

So, I'm taking advantage of this time, before Gary gets home, to put down some thoughts that have been on my heart today. Lately, there have been so many things running through my mind that it's been overwhelming to sit and try to write them all. I'm going to try to capture just one.

I just finished 2 Chronicles today and am half way through Ezra. (I'll save you the trouble of looking up the "read through the Bible in a year" schedule and just tell you...I'm 3 weeks behind. Not to worry, I'm getting there.)

Throughout Chronicles I read of kings who did right in the eyes of the Lord only to be succeeded by a son who did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Just when you think the whole nation is about to face the wrath of God, the next king takes the throne and does right in the eyes of the Lord. It is quite a roller coaster. By the end of 2 Chronicles, the Israelites have finally done it. The roller coaster comes to an abrupt end as the nation is taken captive to Babylon. Well, the remnant who escaped from the sword were taken captive.

Thirty-six chapters. Up and down. Back and forth. Good then evil. Just when you think they have figured it out their king dies and his son starts sacrificing his own children to foreign gods. You, well, I, just wanted to scream, "What are you thinking??? Go back!!! Turn back to God!!! Can you not see a pattern here? Worship and obey God = peace and success. Worship other gods = defeat and God's wrath!!!" I mean, it's so obviously clear. It's right here in black and white. Just 36 chapters. How did they not get it?

And then I saw why they didn't get it. The very last chapter. Chapter 36. The last four kings of Judah are recorded and then the fall of Jerusalem.

The end of the chapter records the events of as Nebuchadnezzar attacks, kills, robs, destroys and captures.

In verse 20 we read that the remnant is taken captive.
In verse 21 we read that "the land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah."
And then 70 years later in verses 22 and 23 we get to hear the happy ending. They are set free, free to return home and rebuild the Lord's temple in Jerusalem.

It was just one verse. In the book! It was a lifetime to those who lived it. Literally, a lifetime. Some people would have died before the 70 years was over. Some, like Daniel, would be too old at the end of the 70 years to make the journey back home. Many would have likely been returning to a home they didn't remember. But it was just one verse!

I only had to read one more verse to find relief, to see the outcome, to see what God would do! But it was 70 years to those who lived it.

My story. My marriage. I could tell you an amazing story. (And with our anniversary coming up in a month, I probably will) I could write it all down and share with you a whole lot of hurt. In just a few paragraphs (I could make it longer, I'm pretty wordy) I could show you where we went wrong. I could show you what it took us 9, 10, 11 years to see. And you can scream, "What were you thinking??? This is so obvious, couldn't you see?" (at the computer screen, not at me, please) Then I could do something really wonderful, I could sum up the most painful part in just a few sentences and skip right to the part where God delivered us. God restored our marriage. Did I mention it's date night? Yeah, and I'm excited about it!!

The painful part, that took a long, long time. In the middle of that long, long time, it seemed that the long, long time would likely be forever. But now?

Now, it's just a verse. Because God is writing more to the story.

I hope that I can encourage anyone who is living in the middle of the verse. Turn to God, let Him write the rest of the story. No matter how long your verse lasts, the end of the chapter will not disappoint.