This clear understanding remains at the front of our minds in all our meditations and prayers, through our learnings, servings, and ordinary doings. We cannot in anyway live and serve here in Brussels, or over in Uganda later this year, but for the grace of God. We cannot breathe–in this very moment–nor live, move, and have our being held together in the days ahead, but for God’s grace to us. He has saved us by his great grace, entirely apart from any merit of our own, through faith in Christ Jesus our Savior and Lord. By this same grace, through faith, our Lord nourishes our souls daily; through challenges of all sorts, losses and hurts, and great happiness and joys–all of which have a place in this life–we know that He is with us and He is working.
It is the same faith in the finished work of Christ which calls us to this life on mission. It is the same faith in the finished work of Christ which compels us to leave family and dear friends, which is very difficult, for the sake of the Gospel going forth–seeds planted in obedience, or the watering of others already planted. We rest in the knowledge that God alone gives the increase. And by what means might this increase be delivered: only through His grace poured out, lavished, bestowed. Meditate on these things: God who is love Himself, embodied (Jesus taking on flesh as man, in the form and likeness of those whom He created), the story of Truth declared existentially, salvation available in and through the finished work of Christ.
In the world we live in, a world clinging to relativism and subjectivity, the persons all around have a firm grasp on the objects they hold, but they are always falling, object in hand. They are falling away from the God who is there, the God they have denied in their presuppositions of the universe or in their moral-defiance which aims to suit ‘self,’ whatever self may be or desire on a given day. They are falling away from Creator-God, loving-God, just-God, the Only Holy One. And many convince themselves they don’t care. They tell themselves this world is meaningless in hopes of grasping at some peace (they are in a place of unrest). Their daily lives reveal value placement, genuine affection, and orderly habits which increase well-being, all act as pronounced declarations of meaning.
Deep in our souls we care and we know. We know there is a moral God, and we know we are wrong, often. We know our actions are meaningful, as well as the actions of others. This is specifically evident when someone causes us harm or shows us great kindness. We know life is of an importance beyond itself. Why else do we find ourselves striving? We know all of this not by instinct towards survival but because our conscience is God-given and reveals this truth throughout life. (I always had unanswered questions about the conscience as a child and youth; in recent years, the book of Romans has brought much clarity.)
If you can be honest enough with yourself in a quiet space, or with me if you choose over coffee, but ultimately with the God who listens, you can acknowledge this as I have: “I am not alright. I cannot fix myself. I am broken and messed up. I have need of something outside of myself, and I’m believing it is you God. I believe it is you that I need primarily, not some social fix, therapy, or any offering of the world. I am a sinner who has defied your law and your love expressed towards me. I need to be remade. I need redemption. I need Christ Jesus; I need you, offering yourself for me. I know your wrath rests on those who are against you. That makes sense, in light of your perfect righteousness and holiness, and having made a way by grace through faith, that those who turn to Christ Jesus will be saved. I desire to be among the saved. Those in your family, those made truly alive now and forever. I repent of the sin I have committed time and time again Lord. I don’t want the darkness anymore; lead me in the Light of your Truth.”
This prayer changes everything. You see, many of us have at some point in time have been enticed or drawn by every sort of whimsy and ideology and best offering of the local culture, and it has never once satisfied. It never lives up to its promise. The one night stand, the party with free liquor, the better job, the newer truck, the bigger house, the next degree, even a genuine lover or a family, will never satisfy, if that is where your hope rests. They cannot satisfy. I urge you to seek Christ by faith. For those who seek Him are those who will find Him, and in Him alone will your entirety be satisfied, completely fulfilled. You will be counted among His sheep and you will live in purpose and joy, even amidst pain and struggle this world brings. You will hear His voice. You will walk in righteousness, grow in holiness, and life will never look the same. Why? For the God who created all things, and has shown His unparalleled love, is a gracious God. And His grace has been extended to you.
I highly recommend a brief commentary on the first 8 chapters of Romans, by Francis Schaeffer, titled “The Finished Work of Christ.” Your worldview will likely be challenged and ultimately benefit from this work.
Selected photographs from our day in NY. FYI the library is free and open to everyone.