I was at the community swimming hole with my granddaughter when I ran into an old acquaintance. As we sat in the toddler pool we did some catching up and I could see that she was heavy laden. There isn't a godlier woman for miles around, so I knew it wasn't God's judgment on her, just that good old-fashioned sanctifying suffering in its common manifold varieties.
At one point she said something like this: "We have testimony time at our church, and they are always happy ending stories-a sickness healed, a prayer answered, a jobless man matched with a job, a childless couple blessed with a baby. I suggested to my pastor to be careful with that, so as not to give the impression that there is something wrong with you if you are suffering. After all, how about the times when the fig tree doesn't blossom, and there is no fruit on the vine, and the olive crop fails, and the flock is cut from the fold, and there is no herd in the stall (Habakkuk 3:17)?"
She then stated the obvious: "We're not in Eden anymore." We got locked out of that garden. We shouldn't expect Edenic conditions when we're not in Eden. We shouldn't be perplexed as if something has gone wrong. Hello! This is the wilderness.
It was a good reminder. Here we were, Karen and I, under a blue sky, soaking our feet in cooling waters, snacking on her popcorn- and both conscious of the sorrows of our hearts. Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil alright (1 John 3:8). But it's a long mop-up operation, and we, with all creation, moan. Here is a mystery: Even Jesus waits! "He sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet" (Hebrews 10:12-13).
Can I hear a testimony like this: "My life stinks right now. 'Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation'" (Habakkuk 3:18)?