Guest post by Joey Cottle
I have a few friends who are in the middle of it right now. I myself am in the middle of it right now in a few different ways. I mean, life’s alright; nobody died or anything. But we all have those moments when somebody does actually die, or maybe it feels like God’s not listening anymore, or maybe a couple hundred bucks extra at the end of the month would take a little bit of the stress off. Or maybe if your kids would just shut up for two minutes you wouldn’t think about leaving.
What I hate when I’m in the middle of it are all the fixers who try make it better. It’s not that they’re bad or anything. And, I mean… some of it’s good. Like, I need a good sermon from time to time about hope and not giving up and trusting the Lord. But the sermon should come on Sunday or from a good podcast, not from across the kitchen table, ya know?
I bet that’s how Job felt, sitting criss-cross-applesauce covered in soot and boils. Then his friends show up and just. won’t. stop. talking… I mean, have you ever tried to read Job from cover to cover? Most of the action is in the first and last chapter. You don’t need much more than that to figure out what God is trying to get across in that book. The rest of it is just Job’s friends yammering a bunch of well-meaning mildly heretical nonsense, save a few chapters where Job tries to defend himself to them and the Lord.
The two obvious things we can take from Job are 1.) God is sovreign and He’s gonna do what He’s gonna do and we need to be okay with that, and 2.) if your friend is hurting, just shut your mouth and sit with them. Watch TV or play Yahtzee or something, but mostly, just be there and don’t talk about it unless they want to.
But that’s not what I want to talk about. I wanted to offer the one thing that gets me through the middle of it, the days I still grieve, the days I’m almost sure God isn’t listening, the days when I’m ready to just quit.
It begins and ends with this great song from Cody Carnes, The Cross has the Final Word. Go listen and then come back.
The cross has the final word because it was there that Jesus declared His absolute supreme lordship forever. Everything that He did—the suffering He undertook, His descending to hell, His rising with glory on the third day—established that He is indeed the mighty, endless, powerful, omniscient, omnipresent God He claims to be.
And that means we must trust him, period. No matter how deep or dark the valley, we have no choice but to surrender to His work on the cross, His triumph in resurrection, and His power by the Holy Spirit in order that we might endure to the end.
And when you’re in the middle of it, that thought doesn’t immediately make you feel better. At least not me. Usually, I’m like “OK GOD WHAT ARE YOU DOING HALP PLZ…” but then I think about all of it—the cross, the grave, the resurrection, the tongues of fire—and remember that He is indeed near, that I am going to be okay, that He has a plan.
The cross has the final word.
Joey Cottle is a pastor and writer from West Michigan where he lives with his wife, Abigail, and two kids, Liv and Levi. He’s passionate about theology, leadership, and a host of other things. Check out his personal blog here.