Until

We’ve all been there. A question lingers without an answer.
It is an important issue as yet unresolved. Every clock we see tells us the same time—until. Not yet. Someday, but probably not today. The question will be answered, sometime. The issue will be settled, perhaps soon. Until then…Wait. Be patient. Have faith.

The Poet faces a common question—

why do the heathen prosper while the righteous suffer?

We’ve all been there, too, if we are honest.

Life isn’t fair.
It is a strange irony that we have been given an inborn sense of fairness and yet we must learn early on that life isn’t fair. As children we were shocked by this. After all we were the center of the universe so why shouldn’t things go our way? We spend the rest of our lives sorting out the details of what we deserve, of what we expect compared to what we actually get. Scorekeepers we are until—until we learn not to keep score.

Keeping Score
Hear the words of the Poet:

“I envied the proud and saw the prosperity of the wicked…”

Words written so long ago ring with resonance today because life isn’t fair. To be sure each way of life has a trajectory—an ultimate destination.

  • The Bible predicts and careful observation reveals that the selfish, self-centered, self-actualized life of the one who doesn’t follow Jesus is a downward spiral leading to death no matter how well one lives and to emptiness no matter how much one accumulates.
  • Also, the Bible predicts and careful observation reveals that the faithful life of the Christ-follower leads to life everlasting and fullness no matter how sparse the life here and now may be.

The score cannot be kept by human standards of momentary measures. Only eternity will balance the scales. The Kingdom that is coming will be one that is fair to behold and fair in all things else.

Like the ancient Poet, we must deal with the “until…”

“When I tried to understand these things, it was too hard for me…
Until I entered the sanctuary of God.”

The Worship Lifestyle
Life is not only unfair, it can be confusing if we fail to worship God every day and every week. Paul recommends a lifestyle of worship—the presentation of our whole lives to God as a “service of spiritual worship.” The Apostle makes an astounding promise—to worship God renews the mind!

  • Until we know the answers, we will worship.
  • Until we see the resolution, we resolve to worship.
  • Until we have peace over the conflict, we will do warfare in worship.
  • Until we reach the end of our time on this earth, we will prioritize the Presence of God.
  • Until Jesus returns for His Church, we will make sure His House remains a house of worship.
    Until then we can agree with the Poet:

Whom have I in heaven but you?
and having you I desire nothing upon earth.
Though my flesh and my heart should waste away,
God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Scriptures:
Psalm 73
Truly, God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had nearly slipped; I had almost tripped and fallen; Because I envied the proud and saw the prosperity of the wicked: For they suffer no pain, and their bodies are sleek and sound; In the misfortunes of others they have no share; they are not afflicted as others are; Therefore they wear their pride like a necklace and wrap their violence about them like a cloak. Their iniquity comes from gross minds, and their hearts overflow with wicked thoughts. They scoff and speak maliciously; out of their haughtiness they plan oppression. They set their mouths against the heavens, and their evil speech runs through the world. And so the people turn to them and find in them no fault. They say, “How should God know? is there knowledge in the Most High?” So then, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase their wealth. In vain have I kept my heart clean, and washed my hands in innocence. I have been afflicted all day long, and punished every morning. Had I gone on speaking this way, I should have betrayed the generation of your children. When I tried to understand these things, it was too hard for me; Until I entered the sanctuary of God and discerned the end of the wicked. Surely, you set them in slippery places; you cast them down in ruin. Oh, how suddenly do they come to destruction, come to an end, and perish from terror! Like a dream when one awakens, O Lord, when you arise you will make their image vanish. When my mind became embittered, I was sorely wounded in my heart. I was stupid and had no understanding; I was like a brute beast in your presence. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You will guide me by your counsel, and afterwards receive me with glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? and having you I desire nothing upon earth. Though my flesh and my heart should waste away, God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Truly, those who forsake you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful. But it is good for me to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge. I will speak of all your works in the gates of the city of Zion.
Romans 12:1-2 AMP
I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, my Hope and my Friend! It is true that some things in my life are stored in the container labeled “Until.” I will leave these things undisturbed for now. Today I will walk in the path I see, one illumined by Your light, my steps made clear by the lamp of Your truth. These occupations are enough to keep me occupied—until—You return for me! If the grave is my destiny, only my body will enter there; my hope will be Your presence, Your peace, Your mansion made to my specifications. Until then with joy I’ll carry on! Thank You, Lord Jesus!

Song:
Until Then
Words and Music: Stuart Hamlin

1. My heart can sing when I pause to remember
A heartache here is but a stepping stone
Along a trail that’s winding always upward,
This troubled world is not my final home.

Refrain:
But until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I’ll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home.

2. The things of earth will dim and lose their value
If we recall they’re borrowed for a while;
And things of earth that cause the heart to tremble,
Remembered there will only bring a smile.

Refrain

3. This weary world with all its toil and struggle
May take its toll of misery and strife;
The soul of man is like a waiting falcon;
When it’s released, it’s destined for the skies.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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