The disciples. All staring at each other, confused, feeling lost. They’d been anticipating relief from their suffering; the oppression of the Romans that they’d endured for years. They thought their time was now, only to find their time was no where near, at least not the way they’d thought it would be. Not the time they were expecting, wanting, hoping for. Instead, Jesus died. He didn’t overthrow the government. He didn’t free them from their oppression and pain, at least not the way they were expecting, wanting, and hoping for. Even the new plan, the one where he got up from the grave after the cross. That’s not the plan they wanted. That isn’t the kind of freedom they were looking for. Can you imagine their disappointment and confusion? Knowing they’d continue to suffer more of the same, if not worse? I can. And I bet you can too.
When my first marriage ended it came at the end of a few very long years. Miscarriage, failed adoptive placements, amonsgst other hard stuff. I thought the clouds were about to part and the storm was going to clear and then the news dropped on me like a bomb, setting my whole world ablaze. I expected things were about to turn around and instead they took the hardest dive. I had no idea that’s what was waiting around the corner. The end of my first marriage, the biggest not yet I’ve known. Healing? Not yet. Restoration? Not yet. Redemption? Not yet. Relief from my suffering? Not yet.
Chronic pain. Infertility. Disabilities. Cancer battles lost. Mental health battles lost. Painful custody schedules. Hard marriages. The list goes on. And we look. Look for the solution. Look for the reason why. Look for relief. Sometimes it comes. A solution, a reason, relief. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it won’t. Sometimes the solution isn’t the one we were expecting. Sometimes the reason isn’t the one we wanted. Sometimes the relief leads to more pain, different pain.
A miscarriage. Painful and hard to understand. A cruel joke. All the hope and excitement just to have it dashed. More loss piled on top of hope. Just three short months after my due date my first marriage crumbled before my eyes. And I knew. God spared this one from the pain, the trauma, of being two months old in the middle of that kind of chaos. He spared me and prepared me through it. A reason. Not one I liked. One that brought more pain. But I began to see the grace laced through it. As I pushed for the thing I thought I wanted, needed, He saw things in my future I could have never.
Children with disabilities. Disabilities that won’t be healed in this life. Struggles that will stick around for them from day one until the last. A life made a little harder, a little more challenging, limited. Not of their own choice or doing. God could heal but often He doesn’t. I have no reason why. I may never. They may never. It’s isn’t fair. It isn’t even.
The disciples asking why? Why not now? You can. Why won’t you? SAVE US. And he did. Just not the way they had expected. Not on the time line they wanted. Not yet. Relief from the pain. Not yet. Healing. Not yet. A way out. Not yet.
Seven years later and I’ve seen the redemption of so many pieces. Not of them all. Some things won’t be healed this side of heaven. Sometimes that hurts. So much. Some “not yets” are harder than others.
God says “All things work together for good.”
Sometimes we see that good. Other times we may not know what good he has brought. And waiting for eternity, that good, good thing, can feel like an eternity.
He promises to “wipe every tear from their eyes.”
He promises, “There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.”
He promises, “All these things are gone forever.”
He is good. He makes good out of bad. It’s his way. He will heal. He will make whole. He will rescue. But sometimes his answer is “Not yet.”
But not yet is not never.
It’s coming. Your freedom. Your relief. Your healing. Your good. You’ll see some of it in this life. Some in the next. There will be a day. All things redeemed. All things made good. Made new. Made right. I know because I’ve seen that good. And I know because he says it. “Not yet” is a hard place to be. I know because I’ve been there. I know because I am there. But Jesus. And these promises. They are all the hope I know to hold onto.