“We must meet the uncertainties of this world with the certainty of the world to come.”
“I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize that He is able to carry out His will for me. It does not matter where He places me, or how. That is for Him to consider, not me, for in the easiest positions He will give me grace, and in the most difficult ones
His grace is sufficient.” |J. Hudson Taylor
What comes to mind when you think of faithfulness?
You may think of the splendor and forces of nature, like Old Faithful. Or the dependable cycle of the seasons, coming one after another without fail.
Faith from Nature
For me, mountains are my marks of faithfulness. Mountains — the monuments of nature that refuse to be blocked by the structures of man. The perseverance it takes to get to the peak of each mountain also reminds me of the character of faithfulness.
In the process of hiking up a mountain, my eyes are often focused on the few steps ahead. Every once in a while, I may also check the map to make sure I’m on the right track. Yet it’s not until I reach the peak that I can see the whole scene — the full picture. I see the places I’ve passed and remember the rugged road that led to this point. I see the bodies of water and the shore, everything in relation to each other. And everything starts to make sense.
In life, it is easy to lose sight of the goal of our walk if we focus solely on the day-to-day (the mundane action of staring at the few steps ahead).
But what happens if you’ve walked for a long time, and the peak is still nowhere in sight?
Faith in our Friend
A few years ago, my parents and I had a visit with an elderly couple. After supper, we sat on the couch to chat. My father began to share the gospel with them. It was not the first time — we have known this couple for many years, and yet year after year, the elderly man refused to believe in Jesus.
That night, he had a question that made me think for a long time.
The elderly man sighed and replied, “Suppose you have a friend. He said he is going to come, but he doesn’t say when. So you wait a few days, a few weeks, and it becomes a few years… And he still doesn’t come! Will he come? How can you believe that he will come?”
He was talking about Jesus.
I don’t remember how my father answered, but I remembered his question for a long time. At times, it became my question.
On the one hand these are the things I that I know to be true: God’s promises, God’s knowledge of my heart and my needs. God’s hearing of my prayers.
On the other hand stand certain unfulfilled promises, pain, and unanswered prayers.
How do we bridge this?
The answer is faith.
Hebrews 11: 1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith in History
There are many instances in histories where men and women were given promises, yet many passed away without seeing the full fulfillment of their promises (Hebrews 11 is my favorite chapter on faith).
But read the summary of their lives, and what they truly desired:
Hebrews 11: 13, 16
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. |
Faith and Encouragement
You see, the man would be right if this life was all there was.
If all we had was this life, then any unfulfilled promises would be considered failure and disappointments.
But good news. Life doesn’t end here.
The promises don’t end with our passing away (1 Corinthians 15:19).
And it was premature to say that the promise of a visit was not fulfilled, simply because it didn’t happen in your time.
That’s like saying the peak does not exist simply because you are no longer going to continue to keep hiking up the path. The peak is there.
One day, in this life, or afterwards, we will arrive (or be taken to) the peak.
The promises will be fulfilled, and the pain will be no more as we glorious unveiling of God’s plan.
“We must see today’s activities with an eternal perspective in order to have a balanced view.”
“Perhaps you have discovered, as I have, that heaven seems far more real the more people we know who have gone there ahead of us…
Timothy Keller reminds us, “Resurrection is not just consolation — it is restoration. We get it all back — the love, the loved ones, the goods, the beauties of this life — but in new, unimaginable degrees of glory and joy and strength.”
Have you buried a dream when you buried a loved one? Remember, this life, as real as it is, represents only a slice of reality — just a fraction of our total existence. Heaven is a lot longer than the dash on our tombstones. Our death is but a doorway to God’s broad expanse of eternity. His promises extend beyond the grave.
…Even if you wait your whole life, you have God’s promise that Christ will make all things right for you–and in you — when He comes for you.
…That, my friends, is what we’re waiting for.” | Wayne Stiles, Waiting on God
p.s. Here is a helpful article for me (and hopefully for you), if your thoughts are on finding assurance in an uncertain future.