Are you expecting ends, limitation, feeling that for you there is no hope, no future? Do not believe it! Get down to this and see it as the great eternal fact. God is trying to bring us to the place where we stop expecting what the Devil is constantly offering through circumstances – death, an end, limitation. God is all the time thinking of increase, enlargement. That is the history of the Church. Again and again, generally and in individual cases, it has been said, This is the end; it is all over; the Lord has done with us; and yet oh, how slow we are to learn it, to get it fixed, established! – It does not prove to be the end, does it? We find that there is still a lease of life, still something more in the Lord’s intention; and even when the point is really reached of an end here on earth, we do not believe that is the end of life and work – it is emancipation unto fullness.
These are very simple things, but all hang upon this little word “that.” God allows very deep and hard and painful things – things which bring us in ourselves really to the point of giving up, where we pass the verdict of death upon ourselves. He allows them with this object, that however much we may have known and proved the truth in our earlier experience, He may bring us yet a stage further into the power and good of it, that God raiseth the dead. If He does that, then there is hope for anybody and for anything. The Lord give us more of this disciplined, instructed, enlightened faith. We cannot come to it by being told it, by hearing it a thousand times, but only by experience.
Some of you know what we are talking about. You know despair, you know hopeless situations, you know what it is to come to the place where you are finished and throw up your hands. If you do not, you may know it yet. The Lord is after getting us, as many as He can, through to that place where, in and through His Church, death is swallowed up in victory, death is no more. That is practically the last word of the Bible. Nearly the first words of the Bible are about the entrance of death; the tree of life was cut off. At the end of the Bible we read “Death shall be no more” (Rev. 21:4). That has got to be wrought out in an instrument, and we know that that process is very practical. The Lord enable us to learn that lesson and gain the vantage ground of the triumph of Christ’s resurrection.
We should never expect an end until God says, That is the end! He is the God of hope, “who… begat us again unto a living hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away” (1 Pet. 1:3-4). If we leave out the negative and read only the positive statement in the passage which we are considering we read: “That we should… trust in God who raiseth the dead.”