Summary: In God’s Word, find sweet words in the bitter experiences of life.
A while ago, Reader’s Digest published an article entitled, “Words I’d Like to Hear.” For example…
Words I’d like to hear from my auto mechanic: “That part is much less expensive than I thought.” Or “You could get that done more cheaply at the garage down the street. Or “It was just a loose wire. No charge!”
Then there are the words I’d like to hear from my son’s teacher: “Everyone misbehaved today except Michael.” Or “Michael traded his candy bar for carrot sticks.” Or “I wish we had 20 Michaels.”
How about these words from a clerk at the store? “The cash register is down. I’ll just add up your purchases with a pencil and paper.” Or “I’ll take a break after waiting on you.” Or “We’re sorry we sold you defective merchandise. We’ll pick it up at your home and bring you a new one, or give you a complete refund, whichever you prefer.” (Readers Digest, March 1992, p.12)
Some words are just music to the ears. They’re sweet to hear, especially in the bitter experiences of life.
The Apostle John found such words even in the midst of his vision of the Great Tribulation. He sees the terrible pain and suffering that is to come, but in the middle of it all, he finds sweet words. If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Revelation 10, Revelation 10, where John found those sweet words.
Revelation 10:1-3 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. (ESV)
Now, thunder in the book of Revelation is usually associated with God’s judgment. So these “seven thunders” are probably seven more judgments on the earth.
Revelation 10:4 And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.” (ESV)
For some reason, God doesn’t want us to know what these judgments are.
Alfred Hitchcock once told a story about a king who was granted two wishes. His first was to see the future. But when he saw everything that lay ahead – the beauty and the pain – he immediately asked for his second wish: that the future be hidden. “I thank heaven,” Hitchcock proclaimed, “that tomorrow does not belong to any man. It belongs to God.” (Guideposts, 1959)
There are some things we just can’t handle; and perhaps, that’s the case with these thunder judgments. They must be so bad that it is better for us NOT to know what they are.
And yet, in the midst of it all, John sees something that encourages him. He sees something that brings Him great comfort. He sees a big angel with a little book (or scroll). He sees a large messenger with a little message. Verse 1 calls him a “mighty angel.”