Until we actually receive beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3 KJV), we live in the “great not yet.” During that time it is hard to imagine God is going to make good happen. We’re caught between what was and what will be, doubtful that what will be will be good enough to replace what was.
The people in Joplin and other tornado ravaged places are in the “great not yet.” All they see is the destruction. All they understand is what they have lost. For most of them, the overwhelming mess left behind shouts more loudly than the hope that good days are coming. The pain they feel hurts like heck.
Time slows during the “great not yet.” Our thoughts race faster than our faith. We trust and then, whosh, doubt rushes up front and grabs the megaphone. We are constantly chasing him down and taking him captive. Then he slips away and pushes up to the front of the line again. It is a constant battle.
Jehosophat faced an overwhelming enemy. He couldn’t stop them, couldn’t defeat them and was afraid of fighting them. Their presence had worn him down. The prophet came in to change his focus. Jehosophat was concentrating on the enemy, not on God. He was looking at how bad things were and not at the good God intended. He cried against the darkness but then he called out to the Light.
The prophet said this was God’s battle to fight in Jehosophat’s behalf. Jehosophat’s responsibility was to look to God and trust.
I believe those are instructions for the “great not yet.” To look to God and trust. They keep the damage from overwhelming us.
With each doubt or despairing thought, we counter with, “No, I’m trusting God.” It is a reminder to the enemy there are boundaries here, to us that we have a future and a hope, to God that we are remaining faithful in the midst of our darkness.
Tornadoes don’t change God’s faithfulness. They just give us the opportunity to trust God on a whole new level.