Imagine trying to accomplish something for 86 years before being successful. How futile? Not to the 2004 Boston Red Sox baseball team who finally won a World Series. However the poster child for futility would surely have been the Chicago Cubs who waited 108 years before the 2016 team won the championship. Once the mist lifts, the exhilaration begins. On a smaller, individual stage the joy of young children as they first learn to tie their shoes or ride a bike is no less happy. Adults also have their moments in conquering futility. That first kiss from a dream guy or gal. Reaching a target weight. Finally getting that promotion. The first new car or house. For us senior citizens perhaps getting a full-night’s sleep or finally reaching retirement age is enough.
For Christians there are also many causes of futility. We struggle with a deeper, meaningful prayer life. (Eph 6: 18) (1 Thes 5: 17) We just can’t seem to forgive those whom we feel have wronged us. (Mt 6: 15) (Lk 6: 37) We have so many unfulfilled expectations. (Js 4: 1-3) We witness doubts in our children, brethren and ourselves. (Mt 21:21) (Mk 11:23) (Js 1:6) We see injustice in our civil and religious life. (Lev 19: 15) (Job 19: 7) (Pr 17: 23) (Lk 11: 42) (Lk 18: 7-8)
It is tempting to throw up our hands and say, “What’s the use, it is so futile!” Often about then God shows us His providence in a long-desired conversion of a friend, a favorable court ruling for the church, a financial windfall from a long-forgotten source or a loving card or call. (2 Cor 1: 3-4) (Heb 6: 10)
But what if we never live to see the mist rise and justice prevail? None of the Old Testament prophets lived to see the coming of Christ and the grace that they were preaching about. (1 Pe 1:10-12) In fact, many Christians were chained, flogged, stoned, put in prison and sawed in two. (Heb 11: 36-40) We see their souls around the altar of God in heaven wearing white robes and standing before the throne. (Rev 6:9) (Rev 7: 9) The futility was gone and the exhilaration had begun.