The End Game
November 16, 2021
“He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give to water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children’” (Revelation 21:6-7, NIV).
He was tall and thin and crammed with complex medical issues when he walked into my office supported by a cane. I greeted him and asked how he was doing.
His reply, “I just want to know the end game.”
I knew he was speaking of his medical problems and knew he was a man of faith, so I answered him, “The end game for all of us is heaven someday.”
“I know that,” he said.
“If you’ve got Jesus, you’ll get there. Do you?”
“Yes,” he said. ‘I am certain of that.”
I was not being flippant with my patient with this encounter. I believe he understood what I meant, “Examine the end game for your life and then work your way back to deal with this illness.”
If you are like me, when we struggle, we try to understand the meaning of the struggle, and often the meaning of life from within the struggle itself. “If this is happening, therefore, this must be true about life….” But I bet you the biblical way to sort the connection between events and meaning is the reverse. “Because the Bible is true, because my end is heaven, because Christ is returning, because I am loved by my God who is present, therefore, my struggle means this….”
John Stonestreet put it this way: “You can never understand the story from the moment. You can only understand the moment from the story.”
The practical use of Stonestreet’s profound statement is this: When struggles come our way, let’s settle on the end game first. Settle first the fact that we and those we love are in God’s loving, powerful, omniscient hands, that there is purpose in our pain, that we are not alone in the struggle and our victory is assured. When we’ve got the end game down, we can then ask, “What do I do with this struggle?”
Let me trust in Your end game when I am plodding through the middle. For Your glory alone.