Updated: Jul 13, 2022
Somewhere in the mid 90's there was a song that chanted it's chorus, which it grabbed from an old hymn, which did not quote the bible. The chant for the 90's song said, "God works in mysterious ways." This song was a Christian charts hit. It echoed in youth groups, single's groups, and even before and after services on Sundays. People could relate, maybe some of us related. God is pretty mysterious to us humans, after all. This song (and the hymn prior to) pretty much summed up the average Christian experience of who God is. Let's be honest there are a lot of things that we just can't explain, there are things that don't make sense to us. The big things like famine, genocide and pandemics, as well as the little things like job promotions, relationships and paying the rent. With our finite brain usage, we are at a loss for understanding when these things don't do what we want them or pray for them to do. So in 2020 when nearly every company is rolling out TV ads, news stations are reporting the "facts" and even our governors and mayors are using the time during this pandemic to update us, they are all using the same two words over and over and we can't help but be reminded of that old 90's song that got it wrong. Those two words? UNCERTAIN TIMES. Jesus (our example) was pretty laid back according to the "Rabbi Code of Conduct" during His time on earth. He sought out His followers. He entered the homes and dwellings of sinners and heathens. He didn't have a set location. He didn't have direct access to the Torah. He spoke in seemingly vague parables, rather than direct instructions. It's safe to say that He didn't follow the same guidelines set forth by the staunch and the strict. He did these things throughout His entire ministry, with the only exception going to those things that He knew could not be relaxed, with these things He didn't mess around. Quite the opposite actually. When violations occurred when He was in the vicinity He showed His disdain in (sometimes) shocking outward displays. Matthew 21:12-13 (NIV) "Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying an selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. "'It is written," He said to them, "My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it 'a den of robbers.'" He wasn't polite about it. He didn't mince His words. The loving, miracle working, water walking Jesus appeared to have a melt down (in modern terminology). Jesus, of course, did NOT have a meltdown. Jesus acted with great certainty. He knew what they were doing, and He equally knew what He needed to do. Matthew 19:13-15 (NIV) "Then the people brought little children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." When He had placed His hands on them, He went on from there." He rebuked His own guys in front of the ones whom they rebuked (ouch). He was firm with what He spoke to them. He was certain, yet unpredictable because He wasn't limited to the patterns and traditions that humans handed down over generations.
Matthew 16:21-23 (NIV)
"From that time on Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns."
He had the most certainty when it came to His mission. Even one who was closest to Him did not escape His tenacious, immediate rebuke. He had no tolerance for uncertainty, even when it took the shape of loving concern.
Time and again Jesus exemplified the need to shut down the lie of uncertainty before it takes hold, causing of even a sliver of doubt toward our CERTAIN trust in the God who we KNOW is our protector, provider, shelter, companion, healer and all that we will EVER need no matter what the latest buzz words are. In other words uncertainty that is unchecked leads to doubt. In these three scriptures, we see a pattern emerging. Jesus insisted on upending the NATURAL "certainties" of the cultural traditions that defined the ways of life and gave the people false confidence in their own human, logical reasoning.
As we review these examples from our real time perspectives, we are more certain now than ever, that the steady hand of God has been using the very thing that the devil originated for evil, as a way of moving all people (especially His followers) into position for the playing out of His perfect will in the closing days before the return. This is why we don't place our confidence in the old adage (and song lyrics) that "God works in mysterious ways" because if we would only take a bit of time to read what He has to say about these times that we find ourselves in, we would know that there is nothing uncertain about Him. So what does that mean for us who are trying to get into rhythm with God before His great day of reckoning? From what we are certain of in the scriptures, there will be a huge need for love, radical faith, generosity, authority and truth. These words should resonate deep within us as they summons the uprising of Jesus' genetic code inside of His imperfect followers, fit for any occasion. What we cannot afford to let happen, is a longing to retreat or compromise anything we know as TRUTH, no matter what we hear repeated over and over.
If we are going to be people who maintain our certainty (and our sanity) in the center of "uncertain times" we must refuse the bait to analyze the situations and circumstances happening all around us, from our inherent natural minded perspectives. These are lies, simply put. Jesus and all that He represents was never intended to be diluted (watered down) with our ever changing rationale, reasoning or even "scientific facts." Following in His footsteps, we would be wise to (with the Holy Spirit's leading) differentiate the TRUE and often behind the scenes violations, causing our certainty in who God is to be questioned and challenged, especially when human solutions become scarce. We are Jesus indwelt human beings, with an eye on His soon return with our hands gripping our purpose to making certain that all of us are ready for anything and everything, as we patiently anticipate that great hope that we are certain of, Jesus, victorious.
Being that we are in this world, but not of this world (John 17:16), though they (the world) may be uncertain, we not ever.