Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 295 No Guarantees, Only Promises

Dear friends,

"In this world you will have trouble. But take courage, I have overcome the world." ~Jesus

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, no do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." ~Helen Keller

There was a time when I gritted my teeth and clenched my fists, full of anxiety and unrest, waiting for something terrible to happen. You couldn't see this fitful affliction on the outside, but trust me when I say it was very real. Somewhere in the protective mechanism of my mind I thought that by bracing myself for disaster I would avoid it. Now I'm not going to tell you I never worry or fret, but I no longer live in that ongoing state of self deception. We can live our lives always doing the right thing, the moral thing (I haven't), and still there is no bargain to be struck saying "good for you - now no evil will ever befall you". If you need a biblical example, look no further than Job. There are plenty of others too, but the point of the book about him is that very thing: why do bad things happen to good people?

Job was a righteous man, and some really awful, painful, unthinkable things happened to him. In the end, all Job really found out was that God was with him in his misery. Things got better for him in the conclusion of the story, but let's not forget he never got his children back. He lived with that loss for the rest of his life. His help along the way was the presence of the Great One, and the renewed understanding that the Universe has a loving captain at the wheel. He also had the indescribable comfort of being a pilgrim. This world was not his home. There were no guarantees for him that his life wouldn't be hard later on. We read the story backwards. We know the ending. He didn't while he was walking along his highway. But there was no doubt that the man of faith was headed for an eternal life where there is no more sorrow, trouble or suffering. Done. It is finished.

1 Corinthians 15:19 "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men." ~Paul the Apostle

Walking with God has been the weighty beauty of my life. It has been, and continues to be a messy, disorganized, imperfect business. On my end. On His end, it's been grace, mercy and unfailing love all the way. I'm grateful for a life with Jesus of Nazareth. But Paul's quote really says it all. If this is it, then our faith is in vain. But this isn't it. That's why a relationship with God through the unmerited grace of His Son must begin here. Not just for comfort and help and the forgiveness we desperately need while we live in this shadow, but for the unspeakable joy of an unhindered relationship with our Creator for ever.

I have no signed paper saying "You will never see suffering again. You've gotten all you're getting." I know you haven't either. Security, as Helen Keller so aptly put it, is mostly a superstition. But holding our breaths for the next problem will just make us turn blue. There's no telling what's coming. Here is our assurance:

"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." ~Jesus

I bet my life on that truth. Fear not, friends. There are no guarantees, but there is the Great "I Am".

Your friend on the pilgrim road,



Anonymous said...

If I took a lifetime, I couldn't have said it any better. Again, that's why you're one of my heroes. Love you to pieces, woman.

Anonymous said...

Amen sister! good words, we appreciate the Great One, and we appreciate you! -Jim

Steve and Hannah said...

M.A. and Jim. I am humbled to call you both my friends. Thanks for the kind words.