How do we rest in this chosen-ness?
When it feels as if all hell has broken loose, how do we stand?
I’ve talked to friends recently who are waking each morning wondering what news awaits that day with children who are wandering from the faith, making choices that frighten their parents, fears those parents feel completely unable to absorb, process, and respond to. We’ve been in that place.
Other friends of ours are living, for a season, in marriages that feel lifeless. The spark is gone. The challenge is continuing on when feelings have evaporated. We’ve been there too.
Add the longing desires of godly single women for marriage, a list of their names resides in my prayer cards, or of broken relationships that carved wounds in hearts and left fears behind. Life is hard. No one is exempt.
What I’ve learned over forty-nine years of following Jesus might sound dull and even unhelpful, but it is this:
Just as I have been chosen by God, my most important daily decision is to continue to choose Him in return. To surrender to His plans, His will, His work in my life and circumstances. To choose to believe by faith even when fears have long replaced hopeful feelings.
I choose to believe He is not absent in my circumstances but is actually just as present as I knew Him to be in the happiest moments of my life. He has promised never to leave for forsake me. He cannot lie, so I must decide to believe His word and act on it. By faith alone.
I choose to believe His promise that He can and will work all circumstances for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. Tim Keller explained the reason that we can believe Romans 8:28. If God can take the horror of the cross, the death of His only Son, and turn it into not just good, but a miraculous wonder-working resurrection—so transformational was God’s good work we wear crosses as jewelry—then He can certainly turn my present confusion, ache, and pain into my own resurrection experience.
I must choose to believe the written inerrant Word of God. I cannot know His ways without knowing His Word, His letter to me.
I choose to wait for Him and I choose not to relieve or numb my pain by my own decisions, my own anger, my own ways of escape.
And so, for my friends who are living in fear and confusion with prodigal children, marriage changes, loneliness, and relational pain, there is hope because of the cross.
Because the story of the cross has not changed.
The beauty and the wonder of the gospel of Jesus is that its truth has survived in the hands of broken, dysfunctional sinners such as me. Like Adam and Eve who were both deceived into believing lies about God, so followers ever since have been prey to the twisted words of the deceiver.
One of the most recent lies, relatively speaking, was famously refuted by a man named Martin Luther whose letter of disagreement was posted 500 years ago yesterday.
Martin Luther rediscovered in his reading and searching of the Bible that salvation was by faith alone. He wasn’t content to keep this good news to himself but wanted to share it. And he suffered for it.
Jesus told His disciples plainly, In this world you will have trouble (John 16:33), meaning in our everyday lives choosing to believe His way over our own way will not always feel good.
Waiting on God’s perfect timing as He patiently works to change hearts, both mine and those I love who are hurting me, is a choice I make to believe Him…day after day after day.
The message of the reformation that began with Martin Luther’s famous theses has been summarized in five crisp conclusions:
- By faith alone
- By Scripture alone
- Through Christ alone
- By grace alone
- Glory to God alone
The story of my life’s reformation has been the relentless love of God showing me, through circumstances I never wanted, that He alone is all I need. My sinful tendency is to trust in my children, my husband, my abilities, my comfort, and a thousand other things besides Christ alone.
I pray you will choose God and His timing, His ways, His purposes over your own.
I also pray you will choose to immerse yourself in His inspired Word, Scripture alone, as your only strength as you walk through dark days.
I pray you will believe God by faith alone no matter how difficult life becomes.
May this increasingly be true of all of us as Christ followers that the world may see our faith and be drawn to Jesus, for His glory alone!