I am planning a big birthday bash later this year, but am not assuming that it will definitely happen, such is my uncertainty of the future. Already this year, health issues have turned around the lives and futures of people I know and it makes me very cautious of expecting things to happen in a way that I have planned.
However, in amongst all this uncertainty (which does make life interesting), the Bible has some wonderful promises which re-assure us of God’s love and care for us and I am sure that many Christians would come up with a huge variety of favourite Bible verses, if asked. Amongst a background of the gloom and doom of the daily news cycle, the other day I read again from 1 Peter 1: 3. “By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.......” How certain is that! Even if part of this inheritance is in the future, we know we can trust God to fulfil it, based not on warm fuzzies, but in the knowledge that God has fulfilled his promises in the past, both in the lives of the people of the Bible and in our own lives. That to me is faith.
I love the story of Abraham. God gave him four promises, but he only lived to see one fulfilled - the promise that God would bless him. With only one heir, how could God possibly make a great nation from him and even give that nation its own land? Yet Abraham believed that God would do this and Abraham only had those occasional encounters with God to sustain his faith – I guess there were times when he would look back on those encounters to gain re-assurance.
It would be another 700 years before God came down to rescue his people in Egypt and lead them to that promised land. The final promise that through Abraham, all peoples would be blessed – that took 2000 years to be fulfilled with the coming of the Messiah or Jesus Christ.
The writer to the Hebrews describes faith as “ the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” ( my italics) and later regarding Sarah’s having a child later in life, “Abraham trusted God to keep his promise” ( a footnote also attributes this comment to Sarah).
So much of modern life is uncertain – death and taxes being exempt as the joke says, but not all that uncertainty is negative. Advances in medicine for example, no longer make many illnesses a death sentence and for that we can be extremely grateful. However, in amongst all the uncertainties of life – good or bad – Job had the answer – “I know that my redeemer lives” (Job 19:25)
“The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need.” ( Psalm 23:1)