Today, as I was driving to work down Main Street, I passed a familiar sight. Every day, the owner of a small auto parts store stands at the door of his shop and waves at everyone that passes by...and I mean everyone. I am not sure exactly when he began this practice, but he has been there morning, noon, and night for at least the last several years. Honestly, when I drive by there now, I expect to see him there waving. If he is not (like on the weekend), I realize it...and honestly miss seeing him there. Now, to my knowledge, he is just an average guy. He is not the richest guy in town, or the most well-known. Why does he wave like that? I have no idea. The point is that people around here know that face, and that wave...and honestly it must bring some joy to him...it certainly makes me smile when I drive by and wave.
After the sudden deaths of so many people lately, both celebrity and local people alike, it really makes me think about things like this that we take for granted. Didn't you honestly think you would be hearing Billy Mays shouting from your tv until he was old and gray? Michael Jackson? Seriously...he's been around making music for 45 years! So many "fixtures" in our lives that have been taken away. As I drove by and waved at our friendly neighborhood greeter, the thought occurred to me that one day I am going to drive by there, and he will no longer be standing there waving back. Sad, but he is an older gentleman, and he will either be too old and frail to continue, or he will pass from this life. Either way, that "fixture" in my life will be gone.
One of the things that death brings to our attention is our own mortality. It also brings our attention to the fact that nothing remains the same in life. There is no certainty to anything we do, or any certainty that we will live to see another day. Will the United States be a country as we know it now ten years from now? Will the economy get better...or worse? It can be a very discouraging and bewildering time, and that is pretty evident when you watch the news, and talk to people in the community. There is no sense of hope in our country right now. The President that promised so much when he was elected has really not done much at all. The war in the middle-east shows no signs of ever truly ending. People are unemployed in mass numbers, while our government leaders continue to spend, tax, and give themselves raises. How bad can it get?
Then, out of the gloom, comes a calm, still voice. Jesus speaks to us in our darkest hour,
"I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." John 8:12.
We need light, we need something that we can depend on. No, we cannot trust in anything in this world...but Jesus, who is not of this world can be trusted fully, and he will never go away. This world will be a place that the devil himself uses to bring pain and suffering to those of us living here. Jesus tells us this plainly,
"The thief [the devil] does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep." John 10:10-15
It is the devil's goal for us to live in fear, to feel defeated and afraid. He does not care about you, but rather only about working against the things of God...and don't forget, people are God's creation. The events of the world right now may bring fear and doubt to your heart. Sure, some of it seems pretty scary. However, through our relationship with Jesus Christ we can find peace, and assurance that no matter what tomorrow brings, God will never leave us....
"For He [Jesus] Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we may boldly say:
'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?'" Heb 13:5-6
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27
In this world where the familiar can and will change, there is ONE thing you can count on. Jesus love never changes. Hebrews 13:8 tells us, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Here's the thing...Jesus isn't just something you stick on your dashboard. To have this sense of peace and joy that He talks about, you must have a relationship with him! You wanna know more? Just ask me!
And for you out there that are already in a relationship with Jesus, don't despair! He IS in control, even when evil and gloom seem rampant! You must keep your focus on Him...don't lose heart! Paul says it best:
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Cor 4:16-18
Strive for the eternal...look past the fog of today...
I pray that you will be blessed today, and that you are walking in the light of Jesus himself. Jesus, the name above any other name...
And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matt 28:20 (NLT)