46. Amen!

‘Living with Uncertainty’ Meditations: 46. Amen

2 Cor 1:19,20   For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you… was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes.  For all the promises of God find their Yes in him

Rev 3:14   ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

Uncertainties and Questions:  As we bring this series to an end – and yes, this is the final part of it – we simply want to recap the seven ‘Big Questions’ we have been looking at, one by one, facing the uncertainties in each and then the certainties. In God and in Jesus there is a sense of the final, “Amen!”, so be it Lord! May we see all such uncertainties before Him, the Lord of all things.

  1. God: At the end of the day there are two options: there is a God or there is no God. If there is no God then the world is more uncertain than we can express for it has, therefore, to be the result of pure blind chance, and that leaves no room for meaningful talk of purpose and meaning. If there is a God, what is He like? A monster as some would suggest or the most amazingly wonderful Being who is summed up as, “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8,16), a Being the Bible describes as Spirit, infinite, perfect, unlimited. When we try to describe Him, I suspect we will find all our descriptions in reality are like 1% of an iceberg that is visible, and when we see the rest……. wow! The 99% that I am suggesting is His reality that we cannot see at the moment, is the uncertain part, but the truth is that if the 1% part we find in the Bible reveals what the rest is like, then we can be utterly certain, utterly confident of His love and His feelings towards us. We just have to open our hearts to receive them.
  2. The Bible: Do I understand it all? No, probably because I haven’t spent sufficient time studying it. What I have read, what I have studied, leaves me going, wow, Lord, that is wonderful. No, not full of mistakes, not full of contradictions, but instead, for those who will take the trouble by looking, full of assurances for those who would reach out to Him with open hearts. The more you read and study, the more it makes sense and the more it makes sense, the more you find your heart rising in worship to God. We’ve just got to do it.
  3. Suffering: Suffering is a problem if you ignore the big picture within the Bible. Suffering is horrible, suffering is unpleasant and we would wish it wasn’t part of the human experience, but then we realise that so much suffering in the world comes from the human experience, is of human origin. It comes when humanity exercises its ability to choose, to exercise its free-will and rejects God, ignores Him, and ignores and rejects His design which is clearly seen in the Bible. Yes, we live in a broken, dysfunctional, fallen world that is like it is because of Sin, whether it is the behaviour or lifestyles or attitudes that are self-destructive or destructive of others, that releases powers that upset the balance of nature or cause disease and cell-malfunction. Yes the big-picture also reveals a good God who is intent on working into this fallen world to redeem its occupants, as He speaks to them, seeks to call them back to Himself, seeks to call them to receive His answers, and all the while He feels with us. Amazing.
  4. Unanswered Prayers: Even more apparent mystery, but the clouds of uncertainty evaporate in some measure at least when we realize that sometimes we ask silly things, sometimes when we speak we’re not really addressing God because of our unbelief, sometimes we ask selfishly, sometimes we ask things contrary to Jesus’ will, sometimes when we ask God is pausing with an answer because He wants us to enter more fully into a deeper relationship with Him which only comes about when we spend more time in His presence, seeking answers, and sometimes when we pray we are confronting enemy realities and it sometimes means we are hindered and frustrated and just have to keep on in prayer. Indeed, the more we pray, we realize the more we need to pray, that here is a channel of communication with God which, at times, may leave us wondering and questioning and yet, in the long run, creates a deeper relationship between us and Him, and what an opportunity that is for a human being.
  5. Confused Identity: There are some for whom identity is a problem. For some it has to do with gender. For them, whether it is physical or psychological (and/or both) it was not how God originally designed the world but has come about through the effects of the Fall, but then we all live with those effects in some measure or other. The problem has been exacerbated, as it so often is, by humanity struggling to come to terms with this, especially in an age where communications means we become more aware of these things. There has become a blurring between the reality (a) of those for whom chromosome provision is genuinely out of balance, and (b) those who, crudely speaking, jump on the bandwagon of ‘having a ‘different’ sexual experience’ and who seek to legitimize it. The Romans 1:26,27 description does not, I suggest, describe those in the former group but certainly willful action of the latter group. Further, we note, promiscuity, of whatever form is unacceptable in the kingdom of God. God loves the repentant sinner of whatever ‘brand’. Holding right attitudes before God is vitally important.
  6. Death & the End: Death is the great unknown, the greatest uncertain experience, simply because we all know we have to experience it and none of us alive today have. The Bible removes the uncertainty with the coming of Jesus so we see that eternal life for the believer means a continuation of life into a glorious eternity with God. Judgment on the unbeliever means that death will mean death, the end. In between these end outcomes, the Bible seems to indicate there will be the Final Judgment when any and every individual will stand before God to account for the way they have lived in their time on earth. Belief in Jesus (or in a genuinely [and rare] utterly good heart towards God for those who have not heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, according to the apostle Paul in the early chapters of Romans) is the measuring stick for entry into eternity with God. The only uncertainty is whether a person will believe.
  7. Present Judgment or Something else: Living in the unique days that we live – days of a Pandemic that are days of world-wide communication as never before known – means we are forced into life-styles of limitation in the face of death of thousands (not millions) and indeed, possibly our own premature death. Such a time means a breaking off from the normal affairs of life in the twenty-first century, either as a front-line care worker who is daily confronting the effects of the virus, or the majority who are living in enforced solitude. In these times, reflections on the meaning of life and the things we do in these lives normally, means hearts are being challenged as at no other time in our lifetimes. The uncertainty of all this leads one to wonder how God will use it. Is this a precursor to God coming in either world-wide revival or church-wide renewal? Whatever it is, the believer is called into a place of alertness to pray, to watch, to listen and to be available for whatever God might do through it all.

And So? And so we have sought to eyeball some of the biggest questions that confront us, to bring them into perspective. Throughout the series we have sought to confront the reality of uncertainty in living generally, and as a Christian disciple, and in these latter seven studies, the big questions that are there behind it all. God is there, Jesus is there and they are unchanging and immovable. God’s will is unchanging, and that involves us having a relationship with Him. As we spent more time in His presence, and in His word, and seek to make ourselves obedient to Him and to it, and available to Him, the uncertainties fade so, as the old song says,

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

May we know that glory and that grace. Amen

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