Whether it's a book or a movie, one of the most popular types of story is the suspense thriller. Back in the day, Alfred Hitchcock was master of the suspense movie. Books like The Hunt for Red October made Tom Clancy famous. When the tension is high and I wonder how it is all going to turn out, I am sometimes tempted to turn to the final chapter, because knowing the ending can make the suspenseful parts less tense.
In this world, we don't know how things are going to turn out, and that causes anxiety and tension in our lives many times. The excruciating wait between the time the biopsy is taken and the results are made known to us can cause worry and fear in our lives. The economy could tank and one could end up unemployed and homeless. A loved one fighting for their life in ICU with Covid pushes us to prayer and raises the level of anxiety to new heights in our lives.
Life is a suspense thriller, and we do not have the luxury of fast-forwarding to the end to see if our loved one will recover or if the test show will show cancer. How will it all end, and how can we find peace in the midst of the worry and fear?
The Bible is perhaps the greatest suspense thriller ever written. When all seems hopeless and humanity has spiraled into degrading sin with no hope of saving ourselves, God acts. God sends a baby. God sends His Son. The helpless One in the manger grows up to go to a Cross and vanquish Satan and all evil. He walks out of a tomb as Victor over sin and death. Jesus is coming again to right every wrong and usher in His kingdom of perfect shalom - perfect peace.
In the end, God wins. In the end, evil is vanquished. In the end, those who trust in Jesus receive eternal life in a place where there is no more sickness or death, sorrow or fear. Knowing the end of the story can bring peace into the tension of our current lives. The diagnosis might be cancer. That loved one may not survive Covid. But in the end, nothing can destroy us and nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39 NIV)
Isaiah prophesied about the coming of God's Messiah - the Anointed One.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NIV)
Jesus came as the Prince of Peace. When our lives are upside down with fear and worry, we can turn to Jesus and find peace in Him. The event may turn out badly - we are not promised a life that is without pain or sorrow or trouble. But the outcome will be victory, because Jesus will redeem it. He always has. He always does. He always will.
This world is filled with division and strife and pain and suffering. We desperately need Jesus. We need to hear Him say to our raging storm, "Peace! Be still!" We can believe the end of the Book. In the final three chapters of Revelation, chapters 20 through 22, Jesus returns. Evil is vanquished. A new heaven and a new earth are created. Jesus ushers in eternal life.
Let the ending bring confidence and peace in the turmoil of the middle of the story of your life. Pain and heartache may be excruciating, but they will not win. Satan may be prince of this world and wreaking havoc in history, but he is already defeated and will one day be dealt with. Nothing can separate you from God's love. Nothing can destroy the one who claims Jesus as Lord and is claimed by Him as His child. Hold on. The storm will end. When all seems hopeless, the Prince of Peace enters the story and redeems it.
This is our hope. This is the peace of Christmas. God sent His Son. I can trust Jesus. In the end, there will be victory. Glory to God!