What You Can Count On

dawn crossWe are told that the world is unraveling.  We are told that the economy is unstable, diseases are without cure, depression and anxiety more prevalent than ever before.  We are told that there is no guarantee of safety, no guarantee of provision, no guarantee that a new disaster won’t befall us when the new day dawns.

We are told all of these things from the media sources that speak into our homes… in the plots of our ‘entertainment’… we can overhear the conversations in restaurants and grocery stores… in our twitter feed… on Facebook.   We hear the endless sounds of despair and the incessant arguments of political solutions that bring no peace and no optimism.  I’m sure that you could add more to the list I made, more worry-planting seeds you’ve heard… and these seeds fall easy into the soil of our broken hearts.

Are the problems real?  Yes.  And yet this is not the entire truth… because, contrary to what it may seem, the problems are not ~ and never will they be ~  the end of the story.  They are not the whole story.  Here’s what is left out of the conversation:

We have a Savior and this is what He says about our earth so undone –

“In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Jesus Christ is the same today as He was on the day that this world was spoken into existence.  (Hebrews 13:8)  He is the same today as He was on the day that saw a sea parted for a way of escape, a sun standing still for the victory to be won, three hundred men defeating an army with nothing but jars to break, torches to light, and trumpets to sound.  He is the same today as He was when one stone knocked a giant to the ground, when the captives returned from exile, when the wall was rebuilt no matter the obstacles that came.  He is the same today as when one lunch became a feast for thousands, when Lazarus walked from death into life, when the mute and the lame were suddenly shouting and leaping.  He is the same today as when He spoke peace to the storm, opened blinded eyes, and He is the same today as when He rose from His grave and ascended in power and glory to the right hand of the Father.

What I am trying to say is this: no matter how many times this world turns, no matter how sin destroys and divides, no matter how much power the enemy thinks is in his hands ~ there is one King of kings and He is in control.  He has always been the Author of this story ~He began it, He unfolds it, and the ending is His and His alone.

If trouble arises, we can acknowledge it and then we can say ~  this, too, is in His hands.  When fear or sickness or problems invade our lives, we can say ~ He is Lord of my life and this, too, is under His authority.

There is nothing ~ not one thing on earth, in hell, or heaven ~ nothing that is not under His reign.

I do not understand the sorrow and tragedies that come into our lives, but I do know that in His power ~ there is nothing that can’t be redeemed.  I know that this life is not the end.  I know that He is sovereign and I know that He is love ~ so we can face the turmoil without bending beneath the burden of fear.  He is the same as He has always been and the same as He will always be ~ Mighty.  Holy.  Full of mercy and full of grace.   Healer.   Exalted above the heavens ~ all power belongs to Him even while He is loving enough to dwell in our hearts.

Remember! ~ the Savior who sings in delight over you has overcome the world!  All of the sin and the enemy who would destroy everything innocent and good?  Defeated.  The troubles that plague our days?  Defeated.  The death and despair that shout out into our world?  Defeated. 

I know that, sometimes, it doesn’t seem like it.  It can feel like things are spiraling and that good is being drowned out ~ but we must trust Who we know and not our vision of now.  The defeat of our enemy isn’t something we can always see in fullness, but one day we will.  Our God knows the day and the hour and the second when He will step back into our sight here on earth, bringing eternal peace with Him… and so we trust in Him and we put our faith in His words, in His purpose, and the future He has planned.

In the meantime, we live with hope!   We get to walk in joy and peace because we know who He is ~ and that in itself is victory over darkness.  Satan would have every child of God allowing those worry-seeds to blossom, wilting beneath his plans, but we can stand against him in the power of the Holy Spirit.  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,  casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (from 2 Corinthians 10)… yes, stand boldly in the victory of our Savior and allow Him to weed out every anxious thought, every fear.  Let every single piece of bad news be laid down at His feet… plant seeds of faith and watch His harvest of faithfulness grow wild and beautiful in your life.

In this way, we live rejoicing and free even while troubles increase ~ because our Savior is here.   He is here and He isn’t leaving us, not ever.  He is here and He is good.  He is here and He is in control.  So don’t forget to sing!  Don’t forget to smile!  Don’t forget to see His beauty and to declare His good works!  We are tired of hearing bad news ~ so let us stand up and speak the Good News ~ the hope of a Savior for every one of us.  Jesus Christ is our portion and this is hope that should not be held close and covered, but radiated in every step we take.   He is the Light of the world and it is our honor to shine… our calling to open our hearts, our hands, and our voices to tell the other side of the story in this conversation of our world… the story of  how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son.  And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.  God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was.  He came to help, to put the world right again.   Or maybe you know it like this ~ ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’ (John 3:16)

Whatever we hear and whatever unfolds ~ He is the Truth that will not waver, the Love that will not fail.

“‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”~Isaiah 54:10

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness
and who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were cut
and to the quarry from which you were hewn;
look to Abraham, your father,
and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
When I called him he was only one man,
and I blessed him and made him many.
The Lord will surely comfort  Zion
and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
He will make her deserts like Eden,
her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

“Listen to me, my people;
hear me, my nation:
Instruction will go out from me;
my justice will become a light to the nations.
 My righteousness draws near speedily,
my salvation is on the way,
and my arm will bring justice to the nations.
The islands will look to me
and wait in hope for my arm.
 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
look at the earth beneath;
the heavens will vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment
and its inhabitants die like flies.
But my salvation will last forever,
my righteousness will never fail.”

~Isaiah 51:1-6

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