Unscripted, Yet Unmoved
by Impact Church
22. And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23. Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of The Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20: 22-24
One of the great eye-openers of human existence is its shocking absence of rehearsal. How is it that a life so rich in experience (some pleasurable and unforgettable, others not so much and wished to be forgotten!), is somehow given neither time nor space for practice! So that life essentially is a constant enumeration of common happenings sitting atop an odd, yet sole, common denominator–the uncertainty of their timing and degree! So much for taking charge of one’s life!
That Nationwide ad, “sometimes life comes at you fast,” implies that life doesn’t give time to prepare for its unpredictability, or allow catch-up! …Or even catch our breath from the last unexpected zinger! So that, according to them, we should purchase their product to calm our frayed nerves, repair the unexpected damages and relieve the pressures of a limited wallet. So much for bio-rhythms, horoscopes and palm readings!
With life, then, being characteristically volatile, how is it that Paul boldly declares, “I’m not moved by these things”? Does Paul have some magic elixir whereby life’s innumerable uncertainties are now contained, prepackaged and patterned? Has Paul found the silver thread, unraveling and uncovering the elusive and secretive scheme from which our mortal existence is wound? If so, so much for the words of Jesus and the other apostles! For they lived and spoke of inevitable trials, tribulations, perplexing times and strange happenings! Yet they boasted gladly of God in difficulties and sufferings! And when the cold, cruel crosswinds of reproach and contention blew against their Gospel ministries, praise to God was the evident product of the encroachment. But come on now, we say, how could that be?
Could it be Paul’s confidence was not in finding the schematic of life, but in finding the faithfulness of God in the uncertainties of it? What if the key to peace and security was not in writing one’s own script (or perhaps even securing varied policies against calamity), but in the assurance of God’s divine presence in them? What if the secret to peace and the promised rest of contentment was not found in orchestrating the events of life, but in knowing the assurance of God’s involvement in the happenings of it, in whatever manner they may come? So that He, the Creator, is ultimately glorified in us, whether in good times or evil, whether in life or death? Praise break! We may have found something here!
Yes, the residual effects of sin plague this yet unrestored planet through devastation, division and despair–yet there remains that solitary, single, unswerving constant – God’s hand, unmoved from His chosen people! Life with its undulating waves of change and temporality are in fact subject to the unchangeableness of the Eternal One! Through faith in Christ, His preexistence preempts the problems our brokenness created!
They, of this life, are short term…He remains forever! They, of this life, are but a momentary breath, a vapor, according to James. He stands alone–another Life, unmoved and unscathed! Though sandcastles of man’s efforts are washed away by waves of time or tribulation (and they will wash away!), He remains… impervious to loss and decay! To the diminishment of a broken world, He’s far beyond it! He’s untouched and unmatched! He’s God! Our Father! And He’s our Anchor and Refuge from the shifting sands of time and the mirages a temporary life encrypts!
Crushed then by the inevitable, yet unprepared and unwarranted, changes of life? Rethink the supposedly inevitable results of this life’s momentum! Life’s pendulum is adjusted by the presence of faith and grace! He, our God, is able to bring glory in the midst of loss, provide strength when weakened, inspire courage when discouraged, and unexplained joy through dishonor, pain or hurt! So, that we with Paul may boldly say, “Many are the storms and perils of the journey, but none of these things move us!” We have found the Eternal One, and His Kingdom is one of permanency: unshakable, unmovable and forever!
Happy Thanksgiving all!