The leadership team of our church met (online!) to discuss what kinds of policies we will have in place when FDC starts to gather for worship again. At least that hope is now on the horizon! Our conversation was complicated by the differing ideas about best ways to deal with the virus. Hard facts are hard to come by in a world of contradictory information provided by the ‘experts’ who cannot or will not admit that they are often learning as they go. The politics that are wrapped up in this terrible crisis makes it even harder to get to the truth. Do you find it confusing to sort through it all? I surely do. Fear can grow when facts are in short supply.
Each day I remind myself of ONE thing that I KNOW, an anchor point for me. My foundation is expressed in the words of Paul, written to his younger pastor friend who was a timid man.
“It is God who saved us and chose us to live a holy life. He did this not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan long before the world began—to show his love and kindness to us through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the coming of Christ Jesus, our Savior, who broke the power of death and showed us the way to everlasting life through the Good News.
And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News. And that is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.” (2 Timothy 1:9-12, NLT)
If anyone could be excused for being fearful, Paul could. His life which was dedicated to the Gospel of Christ was hard. As he penned those hopeful words, he was on death row in a miserable Roman prison. Yet, he is confident- not in himself but in Christ Jesus, his Lord. “God saved us … God chose us … His plan was to show love … suffering is real but I am not ashamed, for I KNOW the ONE IN WHOM I TRUST.”
At the core of my being there is a simple faith – I am God’s child, saved by His grace. Do I still wrestle with questions about life? Well, of course. Suffering remains a thorny issue. Evil in all its expressions roars in my face, challenging my faith. But, I choose to rest on His declaration and to say “I know in Whom I have believed and that He is able to keep me!” From that solid foundation I find the footing to deal with life, to remain hopeful, to endure trials, to experience joy. Ah, friend, will you trust Him?
Give up all attempts to play ‘Let’s Make A Deal’ with God. We cannot impress Him. We cannot wring favor from Him with songs, prayers, or rigid religiosity. The moment we shift our hope from His grace given freely to us in love, we lose our assurance. But, if we ‘fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith’ we defeat fear and live with wisdom. We are not foolish to choose to be confident in this – nothing that comes our way is too big for Him, will surprise Him, or can overcome His gracious love.
Does that mean we become simpletons who deny the realities of pain or disappointment that exist all around us? Not at all. We are still very much part of this world which is, ‘with devils filled and threatens to undo us!‘ (Martin Luther)
But, a GREATER truth secures us: that we are in the hands of the King whose power has triumphed over sin, Hell, and death. So, we trust – in Christ Jesus of whom we say – “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12-14, NIV)
Choose simple faith. From the Word, understand the core Truth of God’s eternal nature, of the triumph of Christ, and of the Spirit’s power – and place those things at the center of your life. Ask the Lord to teach you to respond in faith to the issues of your life, choosing the way of the faithful consistently. And, you will find rock-like stability in a confusing world!
In our word from the Word, James reminds us of the importance of simple faith. Read it carefully and prayerfully. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:5-8, NKJV)
If you are not a Christian, receiving God’s gift through faith, do it now.
When we know Who holds tomorrow, who holds our hand, we are able to be at rest.
Do you know Him? Is He really Lord? Then, trust Him!
I don’t know about tomorrow
I just live from day to day
I don’t borrow from its sunshine
For its skies may turn to gray
I don’t worry o’er the future
For I know what Jesus said
And today I’ll walk beside Him
For He knows what is ahead
Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand
Ev’ry step is getting brighter
As the golden stairs I climb
Ev’ry burden’s getting lighter
Ev’ry cloud is silver-lined
There the sun is always shining
here no tear will dim the eye
At the ending of the rainbow
Where the mountains touch the sky
I don’t know about tomorrow
It may bring me poverty
But the One who feeds the sparrow
Is the One who stands by me
And the path that is my portion
May be through the flame or flood
But His presence goes before me
And I’m covered with His blood
Ira Stanphill © 1950 New Spring (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.) CCLI License # 810055