Two quotes from The Key Next Door, 1959, by Leslie Weatherhead (1893-1976), Anglican pastor of City Temple in London.
Can we really hope to understand all that our heavenly Father does? Can a toddler, whose father is a surgeon, understand that his father must make people unconscious, lay them on a table, and cut them with knives? Can a child watching a building site, covered with cranes and cement and stones and rubbish, understand what the architect is going to do with it? Can a child, confronted with a batch of black dots on a sheet of paper, realize that it is the music of Beethoven which will thrill the world as long as the world lasts?
Let us remember that we shall never feel so defeated, so depressed, so beaten, so cheated, as eleven men felt on Good Friday night. Jesus had promised them the world! They were going to rule in a kingdom. Some of them were going to sit on His right and on His left. Life was going to be marvelous. They had become important. They were going to do big things… And then Jesus was arrested, tortured, and crucified. We shall never feel as they felt then. No, not even crippling disease, financial failure, the broken heartedness which comes from the loss of love, the desertion of friends, the death of dear ones, the injustice and disappointments of life— none of these could bring us so low as the Cross brought those eleven men.
And then—Easter dawn, a voice, a testimony, an appearance, and a certainty, and they knew that even His death did not matter as much as they thought. But then again, in a very different sense, it did indeed matter gloriously, and became a new beginning instead of a dismal end.
Do you remember that night when you were only a little child and somehow your doll got smashed, or your favorite teddy bear got burnt in the kitchen fire, or someone stepped on your toy train? I doubt if we can really recover now the anguish of spirit we felt then. The adults who looked on said that we should get over it, or they would buy us another doll or another teddy or another train. But we did not believe we should ever get over it, and in the darkness of our despair we sobbed ourselves to sleep. And yet, now, we know it did not matter as much as we thought.
The day will come when we shall look back on disease and war, on disaster and misery, on pain and sorrow, or, deprivation and frustration, and say, “Well, it was awful at the time, but it didn’t matter as much as we thought.” That moment will come. We shall then adjust our perspective. We shall then see those things—even death—as the little things, and the big things will be the hands of God that sustained you, the purposes of God that never let you go, and the love of God that will bring you at last to the place where you understand and are content; the place where in unbroken joy we will bless the hand that guided us and restored all that was lost.
Romans 8:18 — I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
II Corinthians 4:16a…17-18 — So we do not lose heart… For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Luke 19:42 — (Jesus said), “If this day you only knew what makes for peace—but for now it is hidden from your eyes.”
Dear Lord, help us to get our perspective right so that we may see what matters most, and put our faith, trust, and hope in you alone. Amen.