Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Blessed Assurance

For various reasons, I just haven't had the time to sit here and write for the last few weeks. I don't see that changing in the next couple of weeks, but I wanted to take some time today to share a thought or two on assurance.

There are quite a few people I know that come up during my prayer time that need assurance. The details and the circumstances of their lives are vastly different, but at the end of the day what they need more than anything is the calming peace that comes from knowing God has all things in His hand. All things; life and death, heartbreak and loss, lonliness and confusion, trials and pain, prosperous times and times of great sorrow.

In the financial climate of the world we live in, assurance is desperately needed by so many who have mistakenly put their trust in men, and the institutions of men. In that situation, focus was in the wrong place to begin with for many people (laying up their treasures on earth) and now that those treasures have been compromised, not a few folks are scrambling to find a way to get back on their feet. They think they need their finances in order again to get there, but what they really need more than anything else, is assurance. More than just assurance they need Godly assurance that can only come from first knowing Him, then fully trusting in Him, during the greatest times and during the worst of times.

I once knew a Christian man that annoyed me to no end. I was not saved at the time, and what annoyed me about this man more than anything else was is complete dependency on the Lord's will. His wife (unsaved) had left him, most of his kids (also unsaved) quit talking to him, he lost his home, his earthly security, and what most of us would all consider the comforts of this life, and still he smiled and said "oh well". He never said it in a way that implied he didn't care or wasn't concerned, but in a way that was quite obvious that his hope and his assurance came from above. What bothered me more than anything about this man was that he never reacted the way the world reacts. He didn't get mad and call his ex-wife names (he certainly could have, she was not a very kind person), he didn't complain about his situation or his unpleasant circumstances at all. EVER. As an unsaved person myself, I guess I wanted to see him do this, and he just never did. It was unsettling and disturbing for me as an unsaved person to watch someone go through such miserable things and never once react the way everyone else (that I knew, anyway) would react. I wanted him to react in this way because it was normal, common and expected, but he never did. It bothered me so much that I knew he had something different, something well beyond earthly answers, to get him through and change his outlook on life. I do know that privately he cried, and privately he shared his sorrow with others but never in a way of wallowing in his circumstances. Rather it was in seeking support and encouragement from fellow believers.

Thing is, life has a funny way of throwing us the kind of curve balls that we never expected. It might be a terminal diagnosis from the doctor's office, or it might be a sudden job loss which means losing the house too. It might be a confession from one of your kids that they are gay, or on drugs, or pregnant. It might even be finding out your spouse has been unfaithful. There are a million and one things that I could put on this very short list, but the point is how do we react to things we didn't expect? Do we freak out and react like the world, or do we rest in the Lord's economy and walk in peace knowing He is in control of even the most difficult things? Do we seek the world's solutions or answers or do we seek the guidance and wisdom from above? Do we run to others to complain about it, or do we drop to our knees and make it a matter of prayer?

At the end of our day, are we truly resting in God's sovereignty, and walking with peace, and assurance that no matter what happens, it didn't take Him by surprise? I know that I cannot always answer this kind of question in the affirmative, since I still react a lot of the time the way the world would react to such things. I don't want to, but I do. I very much look forward to that day when faith will be sight, but until that day I look forward to the growing in grace and learning how to be an example of grace under pressure.

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