In uncertain times...
written by Rev Gary Heard

The level of uncertainty facing each generation is constant, but the perception of certainty varies greatly across different times. There is no doubt that the level of community angst has risen over the past year or so, with increased focus on international conflict, and the level of economic activity being called into question in many quarters resulting in falls in the share market and speculation about increased interest rates. Coupled with a creeping drought, questions about environmental sustainability, and debate about Iraq, the community is feeling an increased level of uncertainty and insecurity. In reality we never truly know what the future will bring – even our best guesstimates can be a long way out.

At times like this, human beings tend to act increasingly out of self-interest. Economic and family decisions revolve around what is best for us personally, as we “bunker down” to protect lifestyles we have grown to appreciate and expect. While it makes good sense to consider the future in our present planning, there is a fine line which crosses over into worry – the place where it occupies the forefront of our minds and impacts our mood and attitude to other unrelated matters. When we are feeling insecure we are less likely to take risks in every area of life, whether it be financially, in relationships, or spiritually.

The Sermon on the Mount makes compelling reading at a time such as this. Jesus’ words have a poignant echo in these testing days:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…
But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment…
Let what you say be simply `Yes' or `No'; anything more than this comes from evil…
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven…
…which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? …do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day.”

The premise for these words is found in the unshakeable belief that God’s purposes are always at hand. Though the world may seem to be “falling apart”, God has never left His purposes unfulfilled. No matter the outcome of this uncertainty, we can be assured that God’s purpose will be done: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

Underpinning the journey of faith is the faithfulness of God, which is not subject to the uncertainty of the times. Can we trust Him – in every sphere of life – even in times like this?

October 13, 2002
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