I haven’t written much lately, but I’ve been reading, talking, listening, and thinking plenty. Stuff too tentative to publish and too muddy to matter. More comfortable with conversation, prayer, podcasts and rumination, the pen’s been silent.
In all the wrestling over things that are not my personal struggle yet enormously important in national conversations, I am constantly overwhelmed by a few things of which I am utterly confident.
Three big truths.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever places their hope and trust in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that through Him the world might be saved.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me, and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
There is much I do not fully understand in God’s Word. Details that make me feel the need to raise my hand to Jesus to request further clarification.
But Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. Again and again and again.
I believe the primary function of God’s Word is to reveal God’s Kingdom and God’s plan to reconcile the Creator with His Creation through the person and work of His Son, Jesus.
The arc of the moral universe is long, said Martin Luther King, but it bends towards justice.
Genesis to Revelation is long, too, and it bends vigorously towards redemption.
The arc of God’s embrace in Jesus is eternal and wraps its arms around the world again and again, in love.
There are mega-themes in God’s Word – love, mercy, repentance, justice, reconciliation, and grace are chief among them. So much about them is encouraged, commended, promoted and, emphatically, incarnated in the person and work of Jesus.
One day, I will stand before a Holy God with a confidence that is not rooted in anything good that I have done but because of the good that Jesus did for me. For us. Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven — because of Him, not me.
On that glorious day, God will welcome me with open arms because of Jesus.
He will declare that there is no condemnation hanging over me, only love. Because of Jesus.
And somewhere, in the eternity that ensues, perhaps there’ll be some conversations:
How did you love the world that I loved, Simon?
How did you cherish the creation that I cherished, Simon?
How did you walk humbly, love mercy, and act justly, Simon?
Did you spend more time wrestling with the small stuff or living out the big stuff?
Were the things that are biggest for me, biggest for you?
Did you elevate your passion for the gospel above your passion for some form of morality?
Did you tell people about my Son, Simon?
Those questions won’t be spoken in judgement; they’ll just reflect the desire Jesus has for His passion for creation to be my passion for creation.
As I wrestle with issues that are big in our culture in 2017, I then imagine subtly turning the conversation with Jesus to some of the things that sometimes tied me in knots. The thoughts and verses with which I wrestled. The tangents amidst the vigorous arc.
I imagine my list of questions, and then I realise that, in the light of God’s holiness and overwhelming love, the things of earth will be appropriately dim.
For now, I see in part, as in a mirror dimly. It’s the fog that can cloud me, not the clarity of God’s faithful love.
But then I will know fully, even as I am fully known.
Once all has been rendered peripheral, three things will remain: faith, hope and love.
Camp on the greatest thing.