HOW SHOULD WE DEAL WITH UNCERTAINTY?

COVID19 has introduced a new level of uncertainty into the everyday “norm” of life, so much so that the questions raised about this pandemic have revealed our startling lack of sure and certain knowledge. With all our academic brains and advanced technology, here we sit “churning in the ditch” trying to get traction. This uncertainty has divided friends, family, churches, businesses, schools, local, state, and of course our federal government. We have struggled with the uncertainties for so long that we have lost sight of the great certainties. The world has always presented us with uncertainty. It is just in these “abnormal” times that the uncertainties are highlighted and brought to the front more forcefully.


For a moment let’s turn away from the uncertainty and go back to what we know to be certain. It seems when we rely on the great certainties proclaimed in God’s Word that the uncertainties of this life hold less of a worrisome grip on us.
Let me list some of life’s great certainties:

# 1 – There is a God and He knows and ordains the course of life on this planet! Of that, we are certain! Divine comfort and assurance from a Sovereign God who is “driving the bus” gives us a settled peace and a sure message for an uncertain time! Listen to God’s Word: “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7) “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father” (Matthew 10:29). “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will” (Proverbs 21:1). “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). A steady and wise hand on the wheel—that is the certainty we have in this always good and ever-faithful God!

# 2 – The Word of God is absolute truth and will never fail! Of that, we can be certain. This life manual will never need revision. How sad that some men who claim to hold the faith struggle with the whole matter of certainty. It is either all truth or none of it can be trusted. There is no middle ground. John 17:17 declares “Your Word is Truth.” Ps. 119:89 says that “Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.” I Kings 8:56 states categorically the following certainty: “Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel according to all that He promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises He made through His servant Moses.” Matt. 24:35 says that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” We have an absolutely reliable voice in the Word of God! Its unchanging declarations hold us  fast in uncertain times.

# 3 – There will never be a change in Christ or His atoning sacrifice! Of these truths, we can be certain! “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). “Behold, I have come to do your will. He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:9-12). To know that Christ remains steadfastly the same person and character that He has always been and that his death on the cross stands forever as the only and ultimate sacrifice for our sins imparts strong confidence as we walk into the future with all its uncertainties. That is the message of our unchanging and certain Gospel…the good news! No wonder Paul could testify to Timothy with such assurance when he said: “But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (2 Tim. 1:12). No wonder the Bible calls our Savior God  “my rock,” and “the rock of my salvation” (2 Sam. 22:47; Ps. 18:2; 62:2; 1 Cor. 10:4).

# 4 – Jesus will never leave His own! Of that, we can be certain. Jesus said in Heb. 13:5 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.” God affirms this certainty to his people in Deut. 31:6: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  One of the most heart-wrenching byproducts of the virus is the prohibition for loved ones to be with those who are critically ill and dying. As hard as that is, for the believer to know that our Savior is always in attendance with us and with those who know Him brings comfort and peace to our souls. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27). What great certainty! Even more, Jesus said, “I will not leave you as orphans” (John 14:18).

# 5 – Death will end in life for the believer in Christ! Of this, we can be certain. Paul said for the believer that when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:1, 8). We have a “new house” waiting for us and Jesus assured us if this were not true, He would have told us (John 14:2-3). We have the word of Christ as our certain hope and assurance. Eternal life is not a pipe dream for the one who knows Christ. It is an assured reality! Thank God there is not a black uncertain hole awaiting those who know Christ. “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).

There are many other certainties in God’s Word but these five should ground us to deal with the uncertainties we are now continuing to face. Praise God behind the uncertainties of this time, there arises God’s solid ground of certainty for those who know and follow Christ. Think it thru





WHY DO SOME PEOPLE STRUGGLE TO BELIEVE?

 Remember the disciple Thomas? He was dug in. I will not believe. “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I WILL NEVER BELIEVE!” (John 20:24-25). This guy rubbed elbows with Jesus, had conversations with him, traveled with him, listened to him, ate with him, and saw all the miraculous stuff Jesus did, yet after Jesus died, he categorically refused to believe that anything like the resurrection could really occur. Why the unbelief? Oh, I know the heart is deceitful and desperately incurable, our friend Jeremiah tells us (Jer. 17:9). That explains part of the unbelief struggle. Don’t trust your heart. It is wicked. God alone really knows the heart! But I think there is more that goes on in the unbelief struggle.

Think about this. When you are not sure about someone, then you are reluctant to believe what they say, promise, state, or do. You will recall that Philip asked Jesus to show he and the other disciples the Father and he/they would be at rest…satisfied (John 14:8-11). Jesus answers with an astounding question: ‘Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? In other words, he is saying ‘you still cannot wrap your head around who I am? You cannot see God in me?’ Then He says forthrightly: “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is is me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.” The struggle to believe is wrapped in the package of being sure of Jesus. If you cannot get Jesus right you have no basis to believe. We must keep that in mind as we share the Gospel with our fellow men. Jesus must always be the starting point on the path of faith. Of course that means going to the record with confidence…ie the Bible… so that we can know about who Jesus is and what He has done.

Perhaps there is another reason for the struggle to believe. Is good news reliable and believable in our skeptical and jaded world of constant turmoil, trouble and wickedness? Every day we are bombarded with bombings, shootings, devastating storms, riots, hunger, cheaters, liars, murderers, etc. and on the list goes. So when we bring up the matter of there being “good news” you can see the disbelief on the faces of those to whom we speak. True good news is rare, seldom seen or experienced, so no wonder there is a struggle to believe in such a “fairy tale.” Yet the transforming power of the Gospel in real life is testimony that there is good news and it is real. Our own stories of redemption from our sins through Christ needs to be shared not as a pipe dream but as an experienced reality. Jesus did save us from our sins. The Gospel does work. We must be ready to show the results of the Gospel in our own lives as we face the daily challenges of life in this fallen world. Paul was right. “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation” (II Cor. 5:17).
Just because there is a struggle to believe does not mean that many will not come to faith in Christ. That is why Paul went on to say: “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us” (II Cor. 5:20).

Finally, let’s not forget our enemy who sows constant seeds of doubt when it comes to believing the word and promises of God. He has had a lot of experience in this practice (starting in Genesis 3 with our first parents). That is why the man in the Gospels cried out to Jesus with great honesty about the battle raging in his soul (no doubt sowed by the enemy of souls): “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). The struggle for belief is not a rare or unusual thing in our world. But victory is possible.  Paul says that “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Face unbelief with the Bible and its claims about Christ. Unbelief cannot stand before an honest reception of God’s Word.

The end of the story for Thomas is recorded in John 20:26-29. Thomas was invited in the presence of the risen Christ to indeed put his fingers into the wounds. But strangely he did not. Unbelief vanished when he got Jesus right. He just said: “My Lord and my God!” The struggle to believe is over. Christ is Lord! Think it thru

HOW DO WE HANDLE “THE POST-ELECTION SYNDROME?”

day-after

Kevin DeYoung in a recent blog entitled A Prayer on Election Day concluded with these words:

Grant us the courage to stand up for what is right, the strength to try to make a difference, and the gospel-formed humility to accept that there are no Messiahs except for Jesus and no heaven on earth except the one awaiting us at the end of the age.”


Our new president is no Messiah and no elected official can deliver heaven on earth.   In fact according to Paul’s words to Timothy in II Timothy  3:1ff there will be a continued downward spiral in our world:

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty for people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power….”

The challenge before us is not to put our hopes in Washington, but our confidence in the power of the Gospel to bring lasting change to the hearts of men and women.  That does not mean we are to abandon our prayers for our leaders. In fact…just the opposite. If we believe the Gospel is the answer for our culture then that very truth will drive us to our knees to pray for their salvation and that God would bring decisions from their hands that will further the Gospel in our land.  The story of the two eagles in Ezekiel 17 reminds us of the sovereign hand of God over the governmental affairs of nations [look it up and read it some time] where God brings change in spite of those who rule.

Our hope for the future is grounded in the triumph of the resurrection.  If God conquered death in Jesus Christ, then the rest is a “piece of cake.”  The darkness on the earthly horizon now  is always eclipsed by the glory of the future horizon yet to come! God isn’t done! The Spirit isn’t done! The Church isn’t done! Think it thru