38. Review

‘Living with Uncertainty’ Meditations: 38. Review

Psa 46:10   “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Goal:  Before we sign off with this series, it might be helpful to recap where we have been and review what we have learnt.

Part 1: Pondering on Uncertainty and Certainty

We started out recognizing that not only is there uncertainty in living in this fallen world, but there is also uncertainty in the life of faith following Jesus. When he said to his disciples, “Follow me” it was to trust him when you didn’t know what the next day would hold and where he would be leading them. Obeying Jesus, we noted, was the only way to stand in the face of the storms of life that come. In fact, we went further, it is obvious from the Gospels that Jesus purposely led his disciples into uncertain situations to teach and train them. There was further uncertainty with Jesus’ timing, especially when he appeared to delay in the face of need.

Yet we learned in all that, that God is too big to argue with, He knows best, Jesus knows what he is doing as he leads us, and although we may often not understand what God is doing, His goal is to lead us into a place of complete trust in Him. Everything about His will, His purposes and His kingdom is certain and sure for He is working off a perfect plan formulated before Creation. We further identified our uncertainties through the questioning psalms of David, and we saw the certainty of God’s provision from Abraham through to Elijah and Elisha and saw His care for us revealed.

Part 2: On the Way

Moving on from general principles, as we started looking towards Easter, we sought to see what it must have been like to be one of the disciples as Jesus set his eyes on his coming death in Jerusalem with references to that death, which his disciples struggled with. And yet with power over death we saw him raise Lazarus from the dead and the incredible effect that that had in stirring up the enthusiastic crowds on one side but the hostile religious authorities on the other. We saw him controlling the time frame by settling his ministry for a short while to the east of the Jordan, then coming back through Jericho, still teaching and still healing and calling people, to eventually come back to Bethany in preparation for the final week, waiting on his Father on the Sabbath to hold the right perspective of what was coming.

Part 3:The Last Week

We considered the uncertainties of that last week, how he came into Jerusalem on the Sunday with fanfare and the sound of triumph setting hearts on fire for the coming of the kingdom – but then letting it all dissipate. How he came next day and upset the temple market, but then stood back on Monday. How in the next few days he taught in the temple precincts raising the temperature of the religious opposition of the authorities again him, but with purposeful teaching that revealed them for what they were – unbelieving hypocrites who would receive the judgment of God.  Thus their ire grew to boiling point, and with help from Judas on Thursday evening, they arrested him, followed by the most shameful trial of history. Yet all this took place in the awareness of his ongoing teaching with his disciples at the Last Supper, revealing exactly what would happen, but how they should live in the days to follow as his disciples. Despite the incredible uncertainties of the disciples, there was the ultimate certainty that Jesus was in total control in the midst of it all and right the way through it –  just as he still is today. Thus came his terrible death, sacrificed by religion and the expediency of the world, yet as the Lamb of God to redeem the world. Silence, shame and self-recriminations would have followed on the Saturday until on Sunday morning the greatest certainty of all – that dead men stay dead – was proved wrong and he rose from the dead and showed himself to his disciples who struggled  (like we so often do) to believe the impossible, and we learnt that with God there are no uncertainties, no impossibilities.

Part 4: Aftermath

We sought to follow the events that followed the Resurrection. We saw how the Lord returned to reassure unbelieving Thomas, but we faced the fact that we still don’t know so much of what Jesus did in that period. Eventually we saw Jesus take the disciples back to Galilee on retreat, to receive teaching about the coming kingdom, and we saw the beautiful way Jesus not only reinstated Peter but set the course of his future. On return to Jerusalem, we saw the uncertainties and certainties of the Ascension. But then came a time of uncertain waiting and then the incredible pouring out of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. There we paused recognising the nature and characteristic of this experience that had echoes throughout Acts, covering all cultural people groups, and experience that transforms powerless believers and enables them to be the body of Christ that continues the work of God, the bringing of the kingdom on earth. We faced the frequent powerlessness and ill-equipped nature of the modern church that seems to have so little impact on a declining world, and pondered on the need we have to call on the Lord to come in power, either sovereignly in Revival or to re-equip, reinvigorate the Church in Renewal, to be what it was originally designed to be, the ongoing body of Christ, revealing the Father’s love and blessing to the world, the bringer of the kingdom or reign of God as He seeks to call the world back to Himself.

And So? Key things, perhaps to hold onto:

– uncertainty is a natural part of life and of being a Christian.

– in the midst of all that uncertainty, Jesus is still Lord.

– He does not change and the will of God does not change.

– His will is to draw us to himself, redeem us, train, and equip us, change us so that we can join in his ongoing work and be part of it while we wait for his return.

– His very presence with us, his Holy Spirit, is the means of resourcing us with his power, his guidance, his wisdom, his grace, his revelation, everything we need to join him in that work.

– Without his Spirit, our tendency is to wallow in uncertainty – over who we are, where we are going, what is happening to us and around us, and how we can cope.

– With his Spirit, as we submit our lives to him (Rom 12:1), not conforming to the world around us, we will know his will and do it (Rom 12:2-7) by his enabling.

May it be so. Amen.

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