by Lindsay Preston
Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it,and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.
Imagine … on the Lord’s Day caught up in the Spirit in a breathtaking vision of Heaven’s throne, the glorious Holy One seated there, the keeper of a sealed scroll which must be opened—but only by one who is worthy. To this effect a mighty angel speaks. His voice flows with power, “Who is worthy?”
A swell of expectation warms your heart, and you feel light enough to float.
But you end up weeping. Loudly.
We have all, under the burden of a great loss or in the hard face of the impossible, wept—perhaps even loudly.
Let me share to you one such sorrow.
When I was a child (relishing the first-born’s distinction of being “Pop’s boy”) I spent the summers with my grandparents. I remember having a notebook whose cover photo depicted a freckle-faced lad sitting on the doorsteps in near-threadbare clothes. He was plucking the two green-twine strings of a homemade guitar-like thing fashioned with a shoebox for the body, and a wooden neck surely once part of something else, like a fence picket but half as narrow. The boy was beaming.
Pop must have noticed my fascination. He approached me a few hours later, grinning, offering a two-string, an almost exact replica.
Every day the entire summer my greatest joy was that guitar. Even before Leonard Cohen came up with this beautiful line, “I heard there was a secret chord”, I found a few secret chords of my own. Nerve-grinding sounds that are probably best kept secret.
At the end of August, my mother showed up as usual to take me home. I happened to be fishing across the road on the harbour banks when that old green ’67 Chevy Nova rattled the pebbles in the driveway. The car was barely halted when my two younger brothers jumped out pushing and shoving each other, racing towards the house.
Suddenly, a clear picture flashed—my guitar leaning against the side of the television in the living room. Dread seized me. I dropped my fishing rod and ran. But I was too late. Those two would-be musicians had already discovered my guitar. They were wrestling over it, and—just as I yelled “Stop!”—the shoebox body ripped.
You bet I wept. Loudly.
Looking back, my dearest treasure was simply cardboard, wood, and string—and another could be made—but all I saw was devastation. As if no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to repair.
Older now, I might still fret a bit and even shed a tear, but I have found the Ultimate Fixer. Not the Jack-of-all-trades, but the Master-of-all-trades. One who is never unable. One who is always willing. The only one worthy.
And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Somehow, some of us must reach the point of critical woundedness, wobble for a while through devastation or countless, unproductive worries before we finally surrender and commit to trusting completely in the Lion, the Root, the Conqueror.
“Weep no more.”
In other words, “Not all is lost.” In fact, all is never lost if we embrace the comforting Christ of John 14:27, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Like a heavy cloak on a blistering day, cast off your fear. The impossible is unquestionably possible.
In March 2020, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, I lost my passport. After two days of crippling panic, I set my mind to eliminating unproductive fear, pointless worry, and I asked the Lion to help me.
What ensued was an unprecedented streak of challenges. I was thrown into hands-on training. Better described by the Apostle Paul as “sufferings to rejoice in because suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” (Romans 5:3-4)
Confession: after all that training, I have yet to “master” the art of taking down the stronghold of fear, and I lose some of those battles in the fight against worry. But with the help of the Holy Spirit I have become a better-prepared, a more efficient and stronger soldier. In a recent challenge, dressed in “the whole armour” (Ephesians 6:11), I was able to hold on tighter than ever before to that complete trust in the Lion of Judah. The Lord Jesus. The Lamb. The only one in heaven or on earth or under the earth worthy and able to open that scroll, any scroll, your scroll.
In times of weeping, when hope seems rolled up and sealed with as many as seven seals, listen: there will come a roar from the throne. The Lion. Or perhaps just a whisper. The Lamb. The Lord Jesus. The Alpha and the Omega, the author and finisher of our faith.
It is finished! Wipe away those tears. Clear the eyes. Let your expectation be the hope that the elder saw on the Lord’s Day when he uttered these certain and unbreakable words, “Weep no more.”