Finding Security in a Messy World

Finding Security in a Messy World

You don’t need to be a genius to realize that the world is a mess.

 

I’m not a genius. I know that the world is a mess.

 

Last week, we witnessed the ISIS terrorist attack on Paris. Innocent lives slain. Families torn to pieces. Countless injuries.

 

And things like this leave us all saying, what if that was me? What if I went on vacation in Paris and never came back? What then?

 

It’s kind of scary. To think that anyone of us could be having the best day of our lives but then wind up in a hospital room, devoid of functioning limbs. Or in a funeral home, lying in a casket ready to be buried in the ground.

 

What then?

 

Tragedy is known so well to this world. There is no escape from the inevitable: death. Hurt. Pain. Loss.

 

For so many of us, we soak up reality and embrace insecurity. Kids, don’t forget to wear your SPF 1567 sunblock, hockey helmet, and bulletproof bathing suit. You wouldn’t want the chance of death on a beautiful summer day, now would you.

 

Hey, the apocalypse might come in a few months. EVERYONE, QUICK, BUY CANNED FOOD AND LOTS OF BUBBLE-WRAP WITH EXTRA INSULATED SWEATERS.

 

As much as this is ridiculously satirical, it’s how so much of us think – just on a smaller scale.

 

What if I go out to school one day and never come home?

 

What if I walk to work next week and wind up in a wheelchair?

 

What if I go to the gym tomorrow and end up dead?

 

And how can I prevent that?

 

I get it. Life isn’t safe. Every time we take a breath, we run the risk of it being our last. It’s the curse of life, and there is no reverse. Take a look at the news (or, don’t) and see all the destruction.

 

This world is messed up. Security is just about impossible.

 

But you want to know what?

 

My lack of security in my own life leads me to one of two things. Either I can roll around in freakoutishness (don’t argue, that’s totally a word) and fear, or I can put my hope in security that is greater than any threat to my human life.

 

Listen to what Jesus says here.

 

Luke 12:4

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.”

 

Our lives are but a blip on the face of eternity. If death is inevitable, eternity is even more inevitable. When this blip of life ends – and trust me, it will – we need assurance of real security.

 

This security comes from the Gospel. I wrote about it recently here, read it if you haven’t already.

 

With the forgiveness of our sins by Jesus’ sacrifice, we are given ETERNAL LIFE.

 

Also, read this one where I talk about our choice of eternity.

 

Life is super scary, I know! But we don’t need to be afraid.

 

Knowing that I’m not “safe” in this life doesn’t increase my paranoia. It challenges me to remember that worrying doesn’t fix things. It reminds me that my life is in God’s hands, and His plan is always best, even if I can’t see it. It hammers into me that eternity is honestly all that ultimately matters.

 

Significance and security go hand in hand. (Read this post here about that.)

 

The world is a mess, but this is only our temporary home.

 

We shouldn’t dwell on the insecurity of our lives, but the security of heaven when we trust in Jesus to forgive our sins.

 

So don’t be consumed with fear. It’s not worth it when our lives prove to be so short. But focus on what’s really important – eternity.

 

Where will you be in 100 years?

 

*aj

The Future: Control, Loosened Feet, and Letting Go  

Waterfall

To be completely honest, I have no idea where I’ll be a few years from now.

I have no idea what I’ll be doing, who I’ll be friends with, where exactly I’ll be at in school, where I’ll be living, nothing. I really don’t know.

To some people, this might seem like a horrible thing. NO CONTROL? WHAT ARE YOU, CRAZY?

(Yeah, I am. But it’s a good kind of crazy. You’ll see why.)

I can be a bit of a control freak at times. Really. I worry way too much about things sometimes. I wouldn’t encourage it, because it focuses on I and me too much. What I want. What’ll help me. (More like what I think that I want and will help me, but really won’t.)

I might make a million plans right now. Now this is hypothetical, and I haven’t thought through the answers to all of this, but I’ll do an example.

I’m going to go to ____ College.

I’m going to major in _______.

I’m going to have a career in _________.

I’m going to date ________ person, we’re going to get engaged and be engaged for ___ months, and our wedding theme and colors will be __________.

I’m going to have _________ many kids.

I’m going to buy a house by the ___________.

And so on and so forth. Maybe we don’t have it all figured out, but we dream (and plan out our ideas in our heads), and hold onto *that thing* as our security.

But *that thing* cannot be guaranteed. Why? Because we are not in control.

Proverbs 16:9 says, The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

 

I’m not saying I haven’t made plans. I sure have. I mean, it’s very smart to plan ahead, but we cannot be so stuck on it that we don’t let God lead us.

James 4:13-15 sums this up pretty much the same way that I’m trying to explain.

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’”

 

We should live with “loosened feet”. Feet that are free to move where God calls us. We can plan, but we must let God direct us. We are not in control; He is. We should live to do what God wills for us. By getting to know Him, He will show us. He will open and close doors for us, and He will guide us.

(Isaiah 30:21, And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.”)

Like I said, I have absolutely no idea where I’ll be at in a few years, both physically and spiritually.

But that’s okay with me.

I’m not in control, but I know the One who is. And I trust that He knows what’s best for me.

As a matter of fact, I know that He knows what’s best for me. He knows what’ll bring me closer to Him. He has a purpose in everything, even if I can’t see it.

So I’ve let go.

It’s okay that I’m not in control. Because He is, and that’s all I need to know.

*aj

True Peace

Peace, Mountains

Peace.

*takes a deep breath*

Visualize world peace. 

There’s a sign in my dentist’s office that says just that. “Visualize World Peace”.

That sounds good, right?

Well, it seems so…but here’s the thing.

Peace, many times, is mistaken for a lack of conflict.

Therefore, it stands to reason that if there is peace, there is stability. If there is no conflict or apparent danger, there is peace.

According to the Bible, however, that’s not really true.

In John 16:33, Jesus says,

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Here, Jesus is talking to His disciples. And He just dispelled a myth about peace. Jesus says that in Him, we can have peace. Notice that He confirms that in this world, there will be tribulation.  (Think of this as conflict mixed with really hard times and trials. Not exactly pleasant.)

Yet, we still can have peace. Why? Jesus has overcome the world.

But what does that mean?

I’m big on explanations (if you haven’t noticed).

Jesus overcame Satan, the Prince of this world. He overcame sin’s power over us. He restored the peace we can have with God.

Peace is like an apple. (What?)

Imagine that the inside (core) of an apple is like the “inside” of us. If we have internal non-peace (which will rot the inside of us), that will eventually result in the “outside” of us being rotten and non-peaceful. Likewise, our inner peace – coming from a relationship with God – will result in a fresh apple, because no apple rots from the outside in.

That might not have made a lot of sense.

My point is, we have hard times in the world and outer non-peace (insecurity). Because the world as a whole does not have Jesus, the world as a whole does not have true peace.

You cannot do ten thousand hours of meditation and spiritual rituals to achieve inner peace.

You cannot buy enough stuff to achieve happiness or peace.

You cannot cut out all wars in the world to achieve world peace.

There is no magic handbook that you can follow to convert the world to be a conflict-free place (although you’ll get those claims).

The chance of having a “peaceful” world seems really hopeless, right?

However, there is a clause. (I’ve always wanted to say that!)

Inner peace for the Christian is possible through Jesus. This peace is a restored communion with God. An assurance of security and fellowship with Christ. We can rest in Him; He is our safe place.

Paul writes in Colossians 3:15,

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

 

We can let His true and lasting peace rule in our hearts.

The world does not know true peace. Until Jesus comes again, true world peace will be promised by many and fulfilled by none.

But we are secure in Christ, which produces our only real peace.

Isn’t that the only kind of peace we should want?

*aj