The Certainty of Our Security
As the year turns, Americans find themselves moving into a new political reality. The operative word in most quarters is uncertainty. Where will the “new direction” take us? No one seems to know. But one thing is certain: a change of direction in the political wind does not alter the facts. Islamists are still gearing up to destroy Israel, the West, and moderate Arab states.
Christians in too many places are still dying, suffering deprivation, struggling to survive, and being driven from their homes and churches. Iran and Korea, assisted by radical compatriots, believe they are on their way to nuclear parity with the West. And, for good measure, the Russians are moving to regain power and prestige of imperial proportions.
So where can we find the kind of certainty that overcomes all of these seemingly insurmountable obstacles? This certainty is as old as the Book, runs in a river of divine immutability, and is bestowed on us by the God who never changes or turns His back on His own.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning (Jas. 1:17).
We have just come through a season of gift giving and receiving. But as exciting as the celebration over new things may have been, in time—perhaps soon—these gifts will be tarnished and, for the most part, discarded or all but forgotten. The good and perfect gifts that come “from above” contain an irrevocable guarantee—one that will never become tarnished by change or decay.
For Christians, the certainty we so desperately seek is found in the integrity of the One who stands by His Word with impeccable ability. His track record is affirmed by every action and verified by every promise He has kept throughout the ages. Succinctly put, our certainty comes from this:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8).
An attitude much in evidence in the recent elections was the quest for change for the sake of change. Interestingly, this phenomenon is not restricted to politics. It is symptomatic of an affliction affecting major segments of the population: a generational hyperactivism aggravated by a short attention span. And it goes without saying that the evangelical church is as susceptible to the malady as are our secular counterparts.
The recent elections demonstrated again that evangelical Christians are not a mindless, monolithic body of automatons marching to the orders of one or two self-pronounced leaders who call the shots for the rest of us. Evangelicals are motivated by their individual evaluations of the issues, and they vote their convictions at the ballot box—a right that our liberal critics don’t wish to grant us.
Nevertheless, as citizens of this uniquely blessed nation, we have an obligation to participate in the political life of our country, upholding our Christian values in the here and now even as we anticipate so doing in the hereafter.
Which, by the way, is the crucial difference between believers and serve-the-moment secularists who see life only through the prism of the immediate. When asked about their futures, especially what lies beyond their brief tenures in this world, they betray an air of uncertainty. So, more often than not, their bottom line is to grab all the gusto they can today and let the future take care of itself.
I suppose one could summarize this life in a vacuum with a few words from the cover of humorist Art Buchwald’s new book, Too Soon to Say Goodbye: “I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t even know why I’m here.” Although Buchwald was probably referring to some humorous episode, the idea strikes at the core of the current spiritual state of millions.
Many years ago I was given a wonderful little booklet titled Safety, Certainty, and Enjoyment by George Cutting. His words are never infused with despair over a life too soon gone and empty in the living of it. Far from it.
“Rest assured of this,” Mr. Cutting said, “that the blessed One who has won your confidence will never change….The work He has accomplished will never change….The word He has spoken will never change….Thus the object of my trust, the foundation of my safety, and the ground of my certainty, are alike eternally unalterable.”
He speaks, of course, of Jesus Christ. Let’s say it this way: His provision, my safety; His supply, my certainty; His way, my enjoyment. What more can we ask or seek?