The video clip at the end of this piece, while only tangentially related to this post, informs the title. The events of the past two weeks, particularly outside the USA (France, Belgium, Nigeria), have left most of us, including the people at MAD Magazine, wondering and worried…where is the solid ground? I don’t knowing if things are worse than they’ve ever been, but who can deny that tragic things are happening that make no sense and leave most of feeling insecure and fearful.
As I search for solid ground (solid identity for my life, faith, ethics and behaviors) where do I find it in a rapidly changing and unstable age? I am not looking for an authoritarian mandate—that resembles the very thing causing my worry—but, rather, I am looking for normative and consistent guidance.
It starts, I believe, with my identity in Christ…I have been adopted/grafted into God’s family because of Christ. “Even before he made the world, God loved me and chose me in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt me into his own family by bringing me to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT) …and firm trust in who God is…“From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done.” (Isaiah 43:13 NLT)
God is a God of history. He is above it yet he is also in it. He interacts with events and humans to accomplish his will. Our times are in His hands (Psalm 31:15). He directs the heart of the King as he wills (Proverbs 21:1).
With this view of history, a realistic look back at the story God is writing, we can use events as a method for determining what he might be doing. God is working patiently and sometimes surprisingly through history to bring deliverance. History itself becomes a revelation of the dynamic will of God. Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not be impressed with or depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-7 NLT)
That said, caution is advised because I know what to do by looking to him (2 Chronicles 20:12), not at myself or failed human systems. I have to be careful to look back realistically because as God interacts with humans, they are fallible (Romans 3:23). And we cannot use human reason to define or evaluate God’s actions or intent…his ways are not our ways; his ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).
What, me worry? Sure…I do and it takes constant reminders to keep my gaze fixed on my champion, Jesus, who is the author and perfecter of my faith.
What should I worry about? “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Don’t worry about what you will eat, drink or wear…your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need…So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:27, 31-34 NLT)
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?…First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3, 5 NLT)
Dependence, humility and continual repentance is the only path forward…according to Dietrich Boenhoffer. [Then] your ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left. (Isaiah 30:18, 21 NLT)
There is evil in the world that tries to confuse the clarity of this message. Why does God permit evil? We aren’t told, but the total context of God’s message is one of reassurance that he is sovereign over the affairs of this earth, and Christ is Lord of all (physical and spiritual). “I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope…when you pray, I will listen, and when you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT)
I can find him even in the uncertainties of the future. My times are in his hands… (Psalm 31:14-15)*
*Thoughts informed by A Thicker Jesus, Staasen