What We Know (and what we don’t….)

We don’t know so many things about when we will arrive in Bridge City. The past year has thrown out all semblance of predictability or control. Yet while some things feel untethered, some things we feel even more sure of and anchored by in this new year:

God is in control. Nothing happens that doesn’t pass through his hands. The stories of scripture are filled with what seem like odd ways to accomplish his purposes….through broken governments, flawed people, countless generations. He holds it all, and we need not fret that something has shifted in 2020.

God is near in suffering. Our self-centered culture tends to regard suffering as something we must avoid at all costs. Sadly, I have heard too many sermons this past year that encourage us to “look within” or “remember you are stronger than you think” in the midst of hard things. Scripture offers us something so much better. “He is near to the brokenhearted. He saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Some are quick to say things like, “There are things we can only learn in the valleys.” And this is true. But it is somewhat of a half truth that sees suffering only for its utilitarian value, which is something that many other religions grasp as well. We don’t just learn things or look differently through suffering. We know the nearness of God himself. No, suffering isn’t good. But his purposes in it are.

Jesus heals and restores. The past year broke us in many ways. Jesus is bringing life and restoration. He doesn’t leave us in our despair, but he is working to help and meet us where we are. We probably will carry the limp from this season for many years (maybe our whole lives), but we trust that he is the one who is giving us strength to stand and walk again.

The church will endure. It will endure because He has ordained it. He gives us simple, yet profound promises that should silent our worry and still our frantic man-made cries that his people will become an obsolete and irrelevant institution. May be be faithful to our King, literate in his word, grounded in our identity and union with Him. The rest will follow.

God shows his love to the world through the church. The world is hurting in ways we have never seen, and God cares. He sees. And he means for his people, as the church, to reflect his compassionate, helpful, caring heart to the world. Let’s not grow weary of doing good together in the name of Jesus.

The nations are still waiting. While the past year has thrown us off in many ways, the mission God has given his people is unchanged: make disciples and teach them to obey all he has given. This truth should orient us as we try to figure out the way forward. We don’t know so much, but we do know that loving others by showing and speaking the gospel is still right. Wars, disease, famines, and political struggles are nothing new in the history of redemption. May we not grow inward focused and content to stick our heads in the sand. May we be those who run toward the hurting, broken places with hope and healing.

One thought on “What We Know (and what we don’t….)

  1. I love your words “We probably will carry the limp from this season for many years (maybe our whole lives), but we trust that he is the one who is giving us strength to stand and walk again.”
    Yes, the Lord is the only one we limpers can lean upon for strength. His strength is perfect! You guys will limp into a field readied for a great harvest! Love ya’ll!

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