Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Make no mistake

People build their lives on a foundation of certainties. They couldn’t live them any other way. Certainties are things they can count on to be there day after day, dependably. They know for sure about these things because over a long period of time, they’ve found them to be true.

Some of these certainties are natural. The sun rises every morning. Their hearts can be depended on to keep beating. They are locked into relationships with family and co-workers. Their cars will probably start up in the morning so they can go to jobs that they will probably still have.

Again, what they consider certainties are based on what they have observed and experienced to be true. As it is with the details of daily life, so it is with matters that have a greater scope, a more enduring nature. These are certainties about one’s self and about others that matter.

Sometimes I say things about myself and others that might seem excessively optimistic, even to the point of boasting, and to many these seem to be beyond certainty. They think in their hearts, ‘How can he say that? Only God can know such things. How can he be so sure of that?’

The truth is, I am no soothsayer, no prophet. Neither am I a man confident of his own virtue. As I see others fall around me, I know I can fall, and sometimes I do fall, yet I say of myself or others, ‘Unbreakable’ and ‘You can trust him. He is faithful. He has never disappointed me.’

Yet to me, these things I say are true. They are words of my testimony. They are the certainties I build my life on. Knowing and depending on them make it possible for me to live day in, day out, despite every challenge that comes against me, every obstacle that tries to block me.

But make no mistake. I know that I can count on myself and on these others whom I call brothers and friends, not only because I have observed their behavior over a long period of time (and sometimes not long) and can depend on them to be and act a certain way.

It is precisely because my confidence is not in myself or in these others, not in our strength or our love or our faithfulness, not in ours but in Christ’s, that I can live on a foundation of such certainty that even the threat of death, let alone lesser fears, cannot dislodge me, or us.

We are not play acting or giving lip service when we exclaim, ‘Not by us, Yahweh, not by us, by You alone is glory deserved! By Your love and Your faithfulness’ (Psalm 115). Brothers, we know whom we have believed in, and we know that it is He who gives us the power to stand, and His sure guarantee.

Ours is the Faithful and the True, the Living One. We know it is not by our own strength that we can be and do everything. It is only He, only He. Thank you, my friends, for sharing this confidence with me, and for walking with me, helping me to follow along behind the flock of His companions, walking behind Jesus.

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