What a chaotic world we live in, at least it looks that way to me. In so many places, up is down, right is wrong. It may well be as you read that line you say, “Yes, Jerry, that’s because you’re older now and set in your ways.” That is somewhat true. But, the chaos around us is not just felt by those of a certain age.
America now has reactionary people who are ready to revolt, ready to do violence, because they cannot make sense of the world in which we live. Even children are increasingly affected by depression in part because they are insecure, left without safe boundaries and guidelines for life. The wonderful freedoms we cherish in our culture are now exploited in the service of radical individualism (“I’ll do my own thing regardless of the cost to anyone else”) which tears at the fabric of community.
My faith is a settled issue that rests on these statements:
–God is the Source of life and Lord of all, will prevail in His purposes for the world and for me.
–God is knowable, showing Himself to me in Jesus Christ, His Son, who is our Lord and Savior.
–God is present, His strength and guidance available to me through the Holy Spirit who lives in me, enabling me to serve His purposes.
Are there other questions of faith for me? Yes, I will not deny it. The ongoing existence of evil raises questions. Human cruelty in all its various forms, cause me to ask God about His power. Prayers that seem to go unanswered tempt me to doubts about His goodness. When I listen to the nagging negatives I grow confused. Chaos takes over and I tend to grow paralyzed by fear.
That is why I keep it uncomplicated at the core – I belong to God and, by His grace, I will continue to love and serve Him for the rest of my days. My model is the old man, Joshua, who succeeded Moses and led the Israelites into their Promised Land. He said, “Choose today whom you will serve. … But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15, NLT)
Which does your faith resemble: a complicated contract or a simple statement?
In your relationship with God do you create clauses and sub-clauses, parts of life from which He is excluded, things you reserve yourself? Do you serve Him or attempt to make Him serve you?
When I was younger a key issue for me was ‘relevance.’ I thought that I somehow had to make my faith ‘fit’ with the complexity of the world in which I lived. It was an upside down understanding. Faith does not fit my world. Faith forms me to live for God, counter-culturally, in my world. Let me clear. That does not make life simpler but it does give clarity.
Confessing Christ as Lord of life gives me a place to stand, humbly engaging others with His love and praying to be light in dark places. Increasingly, my faith is distilled around this core truth- Jesus cares and loves me, therefore, I can love and care for others. Convinced by the Scripture, by experience, and by the Spirit in me that “God is for me, not against me,” I am able to live with confidence that nothing that comes my way is too big for Him, will surprise Him, or can overcome His gracious love.
Am I a simpleton who lacks a grasp of the possibilities for pain or disappointment that exist all around me? Not at all. I am still very much part of this world which is, ‘with devils filled and threatens to undo us!’ (Martin Luther) An overarching truth secures me. I am a subject of the King whose power has triumphed over sin, Hell, and death. I set my hope in Christ Jesus of whom I 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)
There are still many complex questions around the ‘what, when, where, why, and how’ of life! But, knowing Who holds the answers to those questions in His eternal mind is my rock of assurance. Do you know Him? Is He really Lord? Then, trust Him!
Ah friend, humbly come to Christ. Confess Him as Lord of life. Pray for faith at the core of your being that rest squarely on the Person of Jesus. 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, complex world!
In our word from the Word, James reminds us of the importance of simple faith. Read it carefully and prayerfully. “If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. They can’t make up their minds. They waver back and forth in everything they do.” (James 1:5-8, NLT)
(The Isaacs sing this gospel song of assurance. Enjoy!)
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
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.)