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Keep a straight face, I thought to myself.
Everything was already in place. The date was marked on a dozen calendars. The cards were signed, the gifts wrapped, the decorations purchased and ready for a celebration.
Then, just a handful of days before the surprise, I listened as she spoke words of frustration and loneliness. I could see the weariness in her eyes, hear it in her strained voice, and I blinked back tears at her pain even as I bit my tongue.
The words threatened to burst bright like fireworks against the night, clamoring around inside, longing to be spoken and offered as a gift of hope.
“Oh friend, if you only knew,” I wanted to say. “Something so very good is just around the corner. It won’t be long until you see that the very thing you’re worried about has already been taken care of. The fear that’s rising will soon be stilled. You are dearly loved, valued, and seen. Hang on just a few more days, friend. Goodness is already on the way.”
Days later, the full room buzzed with excitement, smiles spread wide across faces, and then, for just a moment, everything stilled. All was quiet until suddenly one word broke the silence: “Surprise!!!”
There were hugs and squeals, party hats and pictures, and once again I found myself blinking back tears at the look in her eyes. This time, though, they threatened to spill with joy.
As the days have gone by, I’ve found myself returning to one thought that played on a loop between the conversation and the celebration:
This must be the tiniest glimpse of how Jesus feels all the time.
He’s the Beginning and the End, the One who knows what’s on every single page of the story, and I can’t help but wonder if He occasionally claps His nail-scarred hands in joyful anticipation, smiling as He says “Oh daughter, if you only knew.”
There are things I’ve longed for, prayed for, for over a decade now. I can only imagine what it would be like to voice my frustration or heartache and hear “Just hold on three more days.” Truthfully, I’d love a countdown clock, a heavenly calendar declaring when the seemingly impossible will come to be and the waiting will turn to celebrating.
For now, I’m learning to rest in knowing that He knows what I don’t. I’m learning to trust that goodness is always here and also always on the way. I’m learning to believe that it won’t be long before I see that I’ve been seen all along, and the very things I’m burdened by today were taken care of long ago. For now, I’m remembering a tiny glimpse and an old promise.
Psalm 23:6 says that goodness and mercy will follow us every single day. The Hebrew word used for follow, radaph, means to pursue or to chase. Far from a casual stroll, this is an all-out sprint, a guarantee that every day, on every single page of the story, goodness is pounding the pavement, coming for us over and over again. We may not see it yet. It might look like fear is following behind, feel like worry is weighing down, seem like pain or sadness will get the last word . . . But the countdown is on. The party hats have been purchased. The celebration is certain.
We may not know the timeline, but we do know that the One who holds time is faithful to keep His Word.
As Joshua 23:14 says, “Know this with all your heart, with everything in you, that not one detail has failed of all the good things God, your God, promised you. It has all happened. Nothing’s left undone—not so much as a word.”
Jesus hears every cry and sees every tear. He doesn’t miss a thing, listening to our frustrations and worries with patience and kindness. He welcomes every word, day after day and year after year. He knows exactly how long it’s been, how weary we are, and He draws nearer still. But perhaps if we look closely, we’ll see a small smile tugging at His lips or a twinkle in His eye as He wipes the tears from our own. Maybe, when all is quiet, we’ll hear a gentle but joyful whispered promise:
Daughter, something so very good is just around the corner. It won’t be long until you see that the very thing you’re worried about has already been taken care of. The fear that’s rising will soon be stilled. You are dearly loved, valued, and seen. Hang on just a little bit longer. Goodness is already on the way.
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If you’re currently walking through a middle place, desperate to see God’s goodness in the chapters you wouldn’t have necessarily chosen, Even If Not: Living, Loving, and Learning in the in Between will help you shift from the suspicion that God isn’t kind or present to the truth found in Scripture: on every single page of the story, He is with us and working all things for good. We have not been forgotten or overlooked. There is beauty, even here, but friend—this is not where the story ends.