Trust In The Lord
What do you do in the face of the unknown? Fret? Panic? Meltdown? The honest answer for all of us is that when the outcome of something important to us is uncertain we often assume the worst and fill our hearts and minds with worry and fear. I want to offer a very brief glimpse at another way to live. I want to be clear, this is not an easier way to live, or a less painful way to live, but it is better.
You may already know that many of the letters in the New Testament were written by the Apostle Paul. Something that is a little bit less known is that most of these letters were written while he was in prison. Philippians happens to be one such letter and it is this fact that makes many of Paul’s statements in it so outlandish. He is locked up, under the boot of the Roman Empire, powerless within himself to alter his circumstances in any way. What will become of him? Will he be executed? Will he be exiled? Will he sit in prison and rot? Will the guards bust in and beat him tonight? Will he get sick from the poor conditions of his cell? Will anyone come to visit? Will his labor for the gospel bear fruit? Will he be forgotten? Will the churches he has helped start fall to pieces? Every answer to these questions, and many more which must have been bombarding his mind, are the same: Unknown. And yet he penned these words to the Philippians with joy and confidence in his heart,
“… what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel” (1:12)
“… this will turn out for my deliverance” (1:19)
“… it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed” (1:20)
“… I know that I will remain and continue with you all” (1:25)
“… and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.” (2:24)
Although there are many more examples in this letter, I will stop there. Do you see the way Christ is renewing Paul’s heart and mind? In the midst of the unknown his heart is set on something entirely different than what most of us set our minds on. We often think of the uncertainty of our circumstances, but Paul has matured in his faith to think instead on the unchangeability of God’s loving character. We often set our minds on what we don’t know, but the lesson for us to learn through Paul is that the Christian is called to set their mind on what they do know. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (4:4).
Hope is the calling of the Christian. We are called to faith and hope, not doubt and anxiety. What do we have to fear if we know that our God is good? What do we have to fear if we know that our God is on the throne? What do we have to fear if we know that Christ has won an eternal inheritance for the children of God? As someone else has said so well, “Don’t measure God by the size of your problems, measure your problems by the size of your God.”
In the face of the unknown, set your hope on the loving character of God who has made himself known through Christ.
May you and I trust in the Lord at all times.