Certainty Amid our Uncertainties


Here is our pastor’s article for our church newsletter for November 2021.

Rich, poor, man or woman, major and minor setbacks befall each and all. How can they not, since we are crestfallen creatures living in a sin-corrupted world? Whenever these certitudes come, events force us to pick up the pieces and start afresh. Otherwise, we withdraw from life. Of course, we might also lie to ourselves and live in self-deception where we redefine reality, convincing ourselves what is so is not. Another option is to harbor bitterness and resentment, angry from following the rules but still getting shot down.

Ah, but you refuse to allow anger and bitter bile to swirl inside you. Neither are you the delusional type. For you, black is not white, and you’re too grounded to deceive yourself and shelter such nonsense. So, for those for whom delusion will not stand, what option remains?

Well, young man, pick yourself up by your proverbial bootstraps! Yes, this life teaches us lest we starve. Consider the alternative.

So frail become those protected from toil,
who never struggle for food or soil.
Bereft of labor for their lot and share,
they squeak in a world of barren light and no air.
Never strained to spread in breadth or span,
they live and die as they began.

Yet, those battle-scarred and battered can lose their hopes, with dreams, long dead and scattered. Still, the expression goes, “What doesn’t kill you will only strengthen you.” Dig deep and muster your inner strength! Yes, you shall overcome, beyond your infirmities, into a better version of you.

The more this works, the more we apply this verified certainty to other areas. Well, life continues to intrude—and exposes this self-reliance as a mere mirage. Mend your fences, patch up your problems, but the mantra of “I am invincible” will prove itself as propaganda. The lies we speak provide false solace, becoming but the pavement for impending failures to come.

Lower things shouldn’t always inform the higher. Life’s convolutions and complexities should compel us to discern more is at work than our simple solutions. To presuppose we can survive because of our resolve blocks us from beholding the untoward tragedy of what we become. For another calamity looms, one day to strike beyond our ability to cobble ourselves back together. The last disaster is death—the undeniable proof of our inability!

Despite refusing to float about in a fantasy world, we go about in denial concerning our actual condition. Some might boast about some coming grand achievement. Another person posts pictures of a fanciful life on social media, showing how wondrous and perfect things are. All these but dance around our idolatry, those self-made gods we believe ourselves to be. Such may our illusions be as we suppose ourselves as set in reality.

To recognize your genuine problem is soon to realize what your heavenly Father wants for you. Though, this, too, can bloat itself with puffed-up pride. In what way? No matter how terrible life becomes, I’ll endure all “with God’s help.” For real?

The irony of our fallen nature is to find salvation in damnable things. Don’t think God shows His face only to assist us. No, He comes to do what we cannot, which includes destroying the false deities inside ourselves. Of course, this, too, can turn us bitter, bewildered as the Almighty works through the sins we wreak for our eternal betterment.

Remember, your Savior redeems. How? By killing the death within you and me, not assisting in our reconstruction. Undeterred by what we may assume, his sole motive for doing this is His love, grace, and mercy. In Christ, the truth of what God does becomes clear. Sent to save, He doesn’t offer a hand, hoping to free us from our failings. Neither does He show you the way so you can reform yourself to please Him. So, gaze upon the cross. Only Jesus accomplishes everything God desires, despite our foolish attempts to do otherwise.

So, why are life’s sweepings and coursings still so hard? Every day, God beckons us to relearn who we are in His eyes. With the ink of crucifixion blood, our Father re-Words our life. Gone are your bungled storylines, rife with self, filled now with Jesus. So, He becomes your story and identity, becoming who you are, so you can receive what He gives.

Only Christ snatched life from the grave’s grimacing jaws and blazed eternal light into the gloom. By rising, He brought our immortality into being. No longer does darkness becloud the night, clear as the day to Him (Psalm 139:11-12). With unfettered vision, Jesus holds you safe. Forever stands His promise, “I am yours, and you are mine. So, nothing can separate me from you—nor you, from me.” Though cold may cut the storm, Your God shall keep you warm. In tempest fierce and strangest sea, Your Lord will bring you home, full and free, lasting into all eternity. Amen.