home > Pastor’s Desk > 2024 > February 16th> A CERTAIN GOD

A CERTAIN GODWe can be reasonably certain about many things. In fact, without this certainty about life, none of us could function. We can be certain that tonight the sun will ‘set’. Tomorrow the sun will ‘rise’. After the February 28th it will be February 29th. This year there will be international unrest and much political instability in many parts of the world. In the coming months global warming will be identified by politicians as the source of floods and wildfires. Several high profile international celebrities will die this year. Archaeologists will make a discovery that will require some aspects of history to be rewritten. And you will certainly have one of the most memorable moments in your life in the coming days. You see, there are clearly some things we can be quite certain about. However, there are some aspects about our future that we cannot be certain about, yet in those moments we can be certain about what we should do.

¶ Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.
Proverbs 27:1

Life: A Certain Great Adventure

Life is a gift. Used wisely this gift can bring great joy and blessing to you and to those you serve. We have so much untapped potential to experience extraordinary fun, laughter, happiness, and joy with this life-gift. Consider for a moment this wonderful gift we each have. We are created curious. We are created to explore. We are created to discover. We are created to invent. We are created to interact with interesting people. We are created to beautify – our possession, our surroundings, our appearances, our dinner-plates, our gardens, our homes, our cities, and our school book covers. We are created to help each other and find great joy in doing so. God has designed human life to be wonderful, winsome, and slightly weird – especially when we live it the way He has made for us. Life certainly is a great adventure. 

¶ As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.
First Timothy 6:17

But life also has moments that we didn’t see coming. In the Bible, Job did not see his sufferings coming. On Sunday December 7th 1941, the US Naval personnel stationed at Pearl Harbour had no idea what was about to happen – an event that changed the course of human history. On Tuesday September 11th 2001, 2996 people who turned up for work in New York City at the World Trades Centre Towers, but never saw the two planes coming that deliberately crashed into their place of work that would kill them in minutes. In 1990 I never imagined that my day would end with me in a coma in the Footscray Hospital after being hit by a Nissan Patrol while riding my motorcycle. It became a moment that would plague me for the rest of life leading to me being hospitalised on January 20th 2023 and given a very unwelcome diagnosis and prognosis. 

In her recent book, Being God’s Image, Dr. Carmen Imes recounts this moving account that reminds us that people’s futures are often uncertain.

One of our college friends suffered from debilitating migraines for over a decade. He spent his days, months, and years secluded in a dark bedroom. His wife worked full time to provide for their family. His children barely knew him. Doctors were unwilling to give him stronger drugs to knock out the pain because they didn’t want him to become addicted. So Chris suffered in silence.

One week he got a doozy of a headache that felt different from his typical migraine. After running some tests, doctors discovered an inoperable brain tumor, unrelated to his chronic migraines. They told Chris he was dying. Friends and family members were stunned. Chris, on the other hand, was elated. Finally, he could see the light at the end of his suffering! He would be healed, and he would see Jesus.

Ironically, since he was dying, doctors were no longer worried about habit-forming drugs, so they gave Chris strong painkillers. For the first time in years, he could leave his dark room and engage with his family. He attended his children’s games and programs. They even went to Disneyland.

In the six months before his death, Chris joined Facebook. After years of withdrawal due to light sensitivity, Chris could finally reconnect with old friends. Talking with Chris was surreal—he was ecstatic about dying. Grounded. He understood what mattered most. And with no mask to hide behind, Chris spoke life into each of us. Chris taught the rest of us how to live.

Imes, Carmen Joy. 2023. Being God’s Image: Why Creation Still Matters. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press. Page 101

Life can certainly host unwanted moments. But there is a certain way to deal with an uncertain future.

 

Trust your uncertain future to a certain God

¶ Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

What I am telling you now is not some untried theory. I am facing an uncertain future. I am applying the principles that God has given us to live a fruitful, effective, enjoyable life. To do this we stay in the community of our church family (we generally call this fellowship). Secondly, we worship God with praise and thanksgiving both in the midst of congregation (Ps. 22:22) and in private (Matt. 6:6). Thirdly, we prioritise the hearing and heeding of God’s Word (Ps. 119:169). If there are times when this is too difficult, then let me help. Have a look at this on YouTube which I have made for times just this. And fourthly, we must continue to pour our heart out to God in prayer. Sometimes there will be times when this becomes difficult for worn-out people as well. I suggest in those times opening up the Book of Psalms to Psalm 83 and pray that Psalm as your own. I can tell you from experience that these principles help us to deal with uncertain futures. I’d be interested to hear from you in comments if this has been helpful or what you do in moments of your uncertain future.

Your Pastor,

Andrew

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