Faith knows and trusts in Jesus, and Jesus knows the terror of this world. He has seen it at its worst. He has seen the depth of sin, terror, and all the uncertainties of this world in ways that you and I cannot even imagine. He has experienced and defeated it. Faith trusts in Jesus and His love even amidst the uncertainties of this world because we are secure in His crucified and risen hands. The scars on His hands mean that the eternal sting of death has already stung Him, so it doesn’t sting you and me anymore.
It reminds me of an illustration I once heard about a young mother, who took her daughter camping with the girl scouts. Rather than vacation at a restful spa, this mom was spending the weekend in a pitched tent out in the wild blue yonder. After a day of festivities and work, mother and daughter settled down in their tent for what mom hoped would be a decent night’s sleep. But, just as her daughter was trying to zip the tent door closed, a huge bee came buzzing in the tent. It haphazardly flew around, frantically trying to get out from the canvas prison, but to no avail. In its agitation, it began to dive bomb mother and daughter. With nothing to swat at the bee except her hands, mom tried to catch it, to kill it, or at least get it out of the tent. The daughter’s screams were getting louder and louder, so she swatted at the bee one last time and “wham” it stung her right in the palm. With that, mom told her daughter to calm down.
“Why Mom?” her daughter said, “The bee is still buzzing in our tent.”
“I know honey, we’ll catch him soon, but, I don’t want you to be afraid of him anymore,” she said, “because, you see this stinger in my hand?”
“Well, the bee only has one stinger and he just used it to sting me. He can’t hurt you and he can’t hurt me anymore.”
I think that’s precisely the same thing the Gospel communicates to us. When you and I are most afraid, Jesus says, “Look at My hands.” He has taken the sting out of death, the eternal fear out of life. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to have troubles in this life, or that we aren’t afraid at times. What it does mean is that we don’t have to be incapacitated by those fears. We can confidently face the challenges of tomorrow knowing that the love of God in Jesus Christ is certain for us today and through it all.
Because Jesus has taken the sting out of death, Paul says, “therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
It’s hard to take Paul’s words to heart right now. I’ve been reading through the list of President Biden’s executive orders that he signed into law last week, within hours of his inauguration. So many of them seem like an attack on Christian values and faith. It’s easy for Bible believing Christians to wonder how any work we do can have any effect when we have politicians and leaders who will stop at no lengths to undermine what we believe is good and right and in keeping with God’s Word.
With all the things that are coming at us from all sides and through all the challenges of transition that we are experiencing at the moment, one thing that keeps things sane for me—even joyful—is knowing that I’m sharing this life with the ones I love, my wife and my kids. Even more, I know that their love is there for me in the middle of it all, no matter what may come. Yet, such love doesn’t even compare to the love that God has for us in Christ and the certainty that brings. Indeed, with love like His, our work as Christians is never in vain!
In these uncertain times, don’t forfeit your peace. Boldly place tomorrow in Jesus’ hands. They are big enough and scarred enough; they’ve suffered enough to handle all things that might worry us today.
- If you’re like me, it’s hard to watch the news or talk politics these days. I find myself getting angry… really angry. I shared this in my article after the riots at the capital on January 6. But how does today’s message help give us purpose even when we feel like the world is against us?
- Take a moment to memorize 1 Corinthians 15:58 — Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
Some Ideas for Prayer:
Consider the words of this beautiful hymn, especially verse 5:
“All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night”
All praise to Thee, my God, this night
For all the blessings of the light.
Keep me, O keep me, King of kings,
Beneath Thine own almighty wings.
Forgive me, Lord, for Thy dear Son
The ill that I this day have done,
That with the world, myself, and Thee,
I, ere I sleep, at peace may be.
Teach me to live that I may dread
The grave as little as my bed.
Teach me to die that so I may
Rise glorious at the awe-full Day.
Oh, may my soul in Thee repose,
And may sweet sleep mine eyelids close,
Sleep that shall me more vig’rous make
To serve my God when I awake!
When in the night I sleepless lie,
My soul with heav’nly thoughts supply;
Let no ill dreams disturb my rest,
No pow’rs of darkness me molest.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host:
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.