[Ed. note: If Revelation 9 were about crabs instead of locusts, perhaps it would look like this! – CWG]
There is a scene in Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place, in which Corrie asks her father a question he chooses not to answer:
He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor.
“Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?” he said.
I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.
“It’s too heavy,” I said.
“Yes,” he said. “And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.”
And I was satisfied. More than satisfied—wonderfully at peace. There were answers to this and all my hard questions—for now I was content to leave them in my father’s keeping.
In today’s reading John hears a proclamation from the “seven thunders,” which a voice from heaven forbids John to write down (Rev. 10:4). Much like Corrie Ten Boom with her earthly father, we are reminded that while much has been revealed, there is much that we still cannot know
For many things, both in our day-to-day lives (Do I take this job? Will this situation ever get better? What will tomorrow bring? etc.) and when it comes to things eternal, often we are told to wait—the time for that knowledge has not yet come. As with the martyrs waiting and crying out in chapter 6, who were “told to rest a little longer” (Rev. 6:11), so too we wait with what can be painful expectation.
However, what comfort it is to know that the answers are there and that we can trust the one who is in control. What comfort it is to know that there will be a day when the time is right: “but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets” (Rev. 10:7).
But wait!! While, yes, there is much that we cannot know, the most central, most deeply important “great mystery” has already been revealed. The good news for us as Christians is the revelation of
the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:26-27).
We, who have been given ears to hear, have already heard! Although we may not be privy to all the details of how it will play out, by Jesus’ blood on the Cross, we know what the end will be. By receiving this gift of the Cross, we have caught a glimpse of the new age, for in Christ our new life has already begun (2 Cor. 5:17).