These are times of great uncertainty. Perhaps I should say that these are times when we are highly aware of the uncertainty around us. I say this not to downplay the seriousness of how many around us feel. In one way or another, we are all being affected by the most recent cause of dramatic uncertainty in our lives, sequestration. Our congregation has many individuals and families that are at risk of being directly affected by the budget cuts. Beyond that, we have the continued concern of the overall economic recovery from recession. We can even see this uncertainty affecting our congregational budget.
I am not going to discuss the finer points of the political situations that have led us to this point. Actually, I am far from qualified to speak of such things. So the question comes, “What am I qualified to speak about in this situation?”
Regardless of the cause, uncertainty is all about the unknown. I have spoken with myriads of people who are awaiting medical test results. Time and time again the refrain I hear is that they just want to know what is happening. We are people who want answers. Knowing what is coming our way gives us a sense of control and power over a situation.
For many years I have wondered about how our national currency still has the phrase, “In God We Trust” on it. There is obvious reasons why some would seek to eliminate this phrase from our money and as our countries official motto. I actually understand others perspective on this, but am glad for Christian’s sake that it hasn’t happened. I’m thankful because for Christians, it makes every dollar and cent physically embody our theological understanding of our lives. We are reminded that it is truly, IN GOD WE TRUST.
This is the ultimate answer to uncertainty. Trusting in God for our life, breath and well-being is the only way for us to overcome our fear of the future. To some this may sound like a trite answer to a looming personal disaster. I contend that it’s not trite and is not a statement that we should take lightly. People’s trust in God has brought them through struggle after struggle. This is why the words of the 23rd Psalm have stood the test of time. I am constantly amazed at the comfort and courage people receive from this simple and short Psalm.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me
lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil;
for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
This past week during worship one of Christ Presbyterian Church’s members, Bill Schmidt, testified to the strength he has found in the promised care of God during adversity and uncertainty. Bill shared the news of his radically good health prognosis. One week prior, expectations were that Bill would receive truly bad news. Yet, Bill was essentially told that his cancer was not like any they had ever seen and his prognosis was nothing short of a miracle.
Today, I don’t want to focus on the positive outcome of Bill’s story. Instead, I want to affirm the power of trusting in God. Many people shared with me that they were worried about Bill because they truly saw concern on Bill’s face, but I knew that despite the concern, Bill was certain. If you don’t know Bill, he is a man of great faith and even a year ago when having serious heart surgery, he went into it with a cool and calm demeanor. Bill’s attitude towards his health issues wasn’t because he didn’t understand the seriousness of the situation or because he wanted to bury his head in the sand. Bill was confident because he is certain as to the care and love of God. Even when eluding to the real possibility that this cancer could lead to death, Bill was confident that God would see him through. Did he expect the way God would see him through to be so radical that further surgery wouldn’t be needed, most likely not. Bill trusts in the words of Paul, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Trust in God is the only answer to uncertainty we have.
I pray that in this time of economic uncertainty you may find hope in the certainty of God. God has provided for His people throughout history. May the peace of God that surpasses all understanding be with you though all times of adversity and uncertainty.
Pastor Geoff would like to thank Bill Schmidt for giving him permission to discuss his situation and faith.