Do Not Lose Heart
As you may know, I'm the organist and pianist at South Suburban Christian Church in Littleton, Colorado, USA. Today's horrific event in the state of Connecticut leaves me speechless. Our pastor, Deral Shrom shared these words with the congregation today and I felt the nudge to share them with you. Our Certain and Comforting Faith That Doesn’t Lose Heart
We’ve just begun to hear the news about another tragic school shooting taking place today in Connecticut. The simply awful news of a room full of little innocent kindergartners being targeted is beyond our capacity to comprehend. The calm and relative quiet of what we thought could be a typical morning has once again turned dark in an instant with disbelief and fear.
How shall we handle the kind of environment we’re living in these days? Where do we get our reserve for the pain and trauma of unanticipated violence and hardened evil? Our world continues to learn that so much of what we place our trust in or upon, can be toppled all too quickly. And it’s no wonder that there’s a pervasive sense of fear, insecurity, and loneliness.
The apostle Paul puts his finger on the pulse of a hurting world – both then, and now: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (II Corinthians 4:8-9) At that time Paul’s opponents seemed to surround him on every side. He felt bewildered and embattled. And yet, every weakness is countered with power!
“But not …!” But not – crushed; not in despair; not abandoned; not destroyed. What Paul is driving home to our hearts is that when we forget to remember the true foundation of living, a kind of ugly doubt will begin to creep in – that can result in a loss of heart that begins its insidious whisper that there are no sign posts; no assurances; no certainties; no rock solid steady place on which to stand when the world shakes, or evil attacks, or fears assail.
So he reminds us that as followers of Jesus, we’re to build our lives on the things that are permanent; that cannot be shaken in an unsteady world. “… we do not lose heart … we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (II Corinthians 4:16, 18) What are a few of the things on which we “fix our eyes” – that focus our minds and hearts; that give us a different perspective, beyond anything this world can offer?
“We fix our eyes” – on the Lord’s love. He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3) Take time to read: Romans 8:38-39. Way back in the 12th century, Hildegard of Bingen said, “You are encircled by the arms of the mystery of God.” This is called security. We will never find this kind of security in anyone or anything else. We don’t find security in the things that can be taken away or lost. In this world we can lose all sorts of things – income, health, possessions, even life. We do live in a hurting and fallen world. But the love of God cannot be taken. Jesus said it, “I am with you always.”
“We fix our eyes” – on the Lord’s Word. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) If we want our lives to be solid in a time of change, or times of crisis – we build them ahead of time on something that will not waver, something that can be counted on. Generations ago Henry Van Dyke put it this way: “God’s Word … has a word of peace for the time of peril; a word of comfort for the day of calamity; a word of light for the hour of darkness.”
“We fix our eyes” – on the Lord’s power. Continue to lift up your prayers of intercession for all those devastated families suffering now in shock and grief. Pray for the increase of our Lord’s peace. Pray for our wayward nation. As you read or watch the news, pray for the Lord’s active Presence to be working in the issues we’re facing these days. Pray that hearts will be turning toward Him – His love; His joy; His peace; His hope. O, how our neighbors and our nation needs the Savior!
When folks around us are asking, “How will we bear this?” Or, “How will I make it through this?” – our steady answer is: our emptiness draws from His abundance; our weakness from His strength; our brokenness from His hope; our darkness from His light. Regardless of what happens, we can know these things, and share these things. That’s the fixed point of our sure, steady, secure, and comforting faith!