Assurance?

One author described America in 2022 as being like the world after the confusion of languages in the Genesis story of the tower of Babel.  Confusion reigns. Words swirl around us but they are mostly noise; to borrow Shakespeare’s prose – “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”  As a result of our confusion, our loss of trust in institutions like Church and government, and our anxieties, many of us have chosen to retreat into isolation, afraid to speak , reluctant to act.  A minority chooses to give themselves to the ‘mob’ joining the war of words that will ultimately destroy families, communities, churches, and nations.

Christian friend, in Christ we can know peace in the middle of this storm. There is a ‘blessed assurance’ to be found in Him.  He says “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”” (John 10:27-30, NIV) 

A key component to living in His promised peace is choosing to listen to His voice. He seldom shouts, is never obnoxiously loud.

The Spirit’s voice is quiet, heard when we consciously turn to Him, step away from the television, lay down the smartphone, and open our mind.   Isaiah was inspired to tell us of our Lord – You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3, NLT)  Jesus rephrased the promise – “Remain in me, and I will remain in you,” (John. 15:4)  Living our busy lives, we may be tempted to treat those words like slogans, making them into little signs that decorate our walls. Don’t do it! Stay connected to know peace.

Yes, we all find ourselves confronted with the unexpected.  We all wake up to situations that rewrite our agenda. We may feel the inner storm pushing us toward the tempest that drowns the voice of God and steals our sense of serenity. But, that is not inevitable, nor must we surrender to fear.  Peace is possible even in the most chaotic and/or busy days in our lives.  Jesus did not live in a monastery far from life’s ordinary struggles. He was engaged with people, pressed by responsibilities and human demands. 

One author says it so well- “Crowds pestered Him. Strangers grabbed His clothing. People with needs disturbed His sleep and interrupted His teaching. In one day alone, Jesus encouraged the disciples, healed the sick, taught the multitude, fed 5,000, and helped a friend through a storm! All this, and He still found time to be alone with His Father.” That, dear friend, is the choice that He made that allowed Him to know the constant fellowship with the Father, the source of His strength. If we emulate Him, we too can live with peace.

Please do not be discouraged by this, thinking that the life of which I write is only possible to pastors or those specially gifted with spiritual devotion. True prayer is the privilege offered to us all. We do not pray well because we are fluent or eloquent, or because we achieve some special emotional state of mind, or because we discover wonderful spiritual mysteries.  

We learn to be “God aware,” to converse with Him about life, every part of it, all the time.  He is our Father and like any good father what concerns us, concerns Him!  What interests us, interests Him!  If we believe this, we will keep up the conversation and in our shared inner life, we will find a new peace, because we are never alone.

Then, too, this peace requires that we choose to live as Jesus taught –  praying, “Give us each day our daily bread.”  If we pile up all the problems we anticipate tomorrow and the day after that, we will be overwhelmed quickly, and probably confused by the many choices we believe must be made.  I love this thought penned by the pastor of a previous century – Charles Haddon Spurgeon – who said  “He only permits us to pray for daily bread and only promises that as our days our strengths shall be.” 

Jesus’ wisdom for us says Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:32-34, NLT)  Don’t you love that?  He does not ask us to become detached in a Zen-like state. He acknowledges that life will include real challenges, but assures us that God, our Father, knows our needs and has prepared the resources we require to live with inner peace. 

I invite you to peace right now. Pause. Breathe deeply. Offer a whispered prayer of gratitude for His grace, His love, His care. Ask the Spirit to keep you in conversation with Him through your day. Peace will follow!

The word from the Word is Jesus’ invitation.  I take it from a modern language paraphrase of the Scripture. May God speak to us and lead us to peace. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)

(Video of this blog at this link)

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Blessed Assurance

(Carrie Underwood sings)

Blessed assurance Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation purchase of God
Born of His Spirit washed in His blood

This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Perfect submission perfect delight
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy whispers of love

Perfect submission all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest
Watching and waiting looking above
Filled with His goodness lost in His love

Fanny Jane Crosby © Words: Public Domain

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