When I first felt led to write on this topic it was in the face of a global pandemic the likes of which our generations have never seen. Little did I think that it would now encapsulate the reemergence of one of the most divisive blemishes on our democratic republic. Yet, perhaps it’s just as well since the topic still applies. Maybe it applies more.
The reason this topic came up in the first place was that it struck me as I watched television over the past couple months (which all of us probably have done more of in this time of societal shutdown), more commercials used the phrase, “in these uncertain times.” I couldn’t help but wonder to myself, “when have times actually been certain?” The answer is, of course, as it relates to our temporal lives here on earth, times are anything but certain. They have never been certain, and regardless of the season we’re in they will never be certain. To us, that is.
We don’t need a global pandemic to show us how uncertain life always is. History is replete with examples of how life doesn’t go the way we expect, dream or desire. Wars, disease, death, genocide, prejudice, tyranny, and on and on. All of that creates an intensely uncertain experience for anyone and everyone affected by them. Without sounding overly dark, this world is broken, life is hard, and times are uncertain. All the time.
However, among all the uncertainty, there is certainty. There are certain times. And that certainty only comes from one place …
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength. “O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.
Certainty comes from God. He promises us in John 16:33 that even though we go through the craziness that our world offers us, He transcends the strife that comes along with it. When the world seems overwhelming, it’s because to you and me it is. It’s not to Him. Out of the immensity of His love and His knowledge that sin had entered and mutated our world through Adam and Eve (and everyone since), He alone made sure to provide a way out of the chaos. Just as Jesus spoke calm into the face of a terrifying storm with His disciples, God speaks calm to the storms that you and I confront in our world. It doesn’t matter how big or scary the storm is, He has already overcome it on our behalf.
In Psalms 91:2-6, he goes further to assure us that not only has He overcome the discord in our world, He is personally with us, each one of us, to provide protection and shelter to us. He’s our protector, He’s our covering, He’s our safety net. He doesn’t just sit high upon some lofty and impersonal perch orchestrating like a puppeteer, He is our personal protector. He knows what you’re battling and what I’m battling individually and He chooses to intercede for both of us. His love and provision have no bounds and never, ever run out. That’s how much He loves us. The 1 Chronicles passage reminds us that He can do these things because the world belongs to Him. Nothing happens outside His dominion and while it all seems out of control, it’s very much in control. In His control. Just because things happen that we may not comprehend doesn’t mean it’s beyond His comprehension. Nothing is. And because all creation belongs to Him, He can cause it to operate as He sees fit, in accordance with His holiness, righteousness, mercy, and love.
So our times are uncertain. Of that there is no doubt. Times in our world have always been uncertain from our point of view and always will be. But not for God. Not only are times not uncertain for Him, they’re very much certain. And so is His love for us. And we can draw comfort in our uncertainty because of His complete certainty. When it comes to our loving, omnipotent, omnipresent God, we can confidently look at our circumstances as certain times.
Soli Deo gloria!
P.S. I would be remiss if I don’t say this … that God created men and women, ALL men and women in His image. We all, collectively, reflect and represent His image. What is certain, unequivocally CERTAIN, is that He loves each and every person He ever created. Anyone who tries to ascribe less value to any one person, class, race, group or whatever on the basis of the Bible is either completely ignorant of what the Bible says, or is absolutely lying and bastardizing what it says. I will spare you, but I could cite verse after verse after verse on the authority of the inerrant word of God, that God loves every person He ever created. And so must we.