It is time! With all that is going on in this world and in our own lives, it is time. It is time to make some decisions. It is time to ask the right questions. It is time to speak loudly.
Jesus entered Jerusalem to a crowd consisting of those who openly professed belief that He is who He said He is and to those who scoffed, ridiculed and plotted to take His life. And there was a third group…“Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise from men more than praise from God.” John 12:42-43
Perhaps Jesus was addressing this third group when He said, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (vs46). Perhaps His urgent cry was warning them that it was time to leave the shadows, courageously step into the light, and speak up.
I’m sure they were struggling with the choice in front of them. Should they obediently “confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead so you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)? Or should they keep quiet about their faith so their community wouldn’t exclude them or ridicule them?
Trusting is difficult because it requires vulnerability. It requires surrendering to the known and to the unknown.
Believing and trusting doesn’t mean we no longer have questions about God and His ways. We often find ourselves navigating through this life’s struggles wrestling with what we know of God’s character and we wind up confused. He is good…so why? He is loving…so where is He? He is just…so is it our fault? He is patient…so how long? He is all powerful…why doesn’t He…?
These same efforts to understand God’s character in the midst of calamities is recorded through out the Bible. Check out Job, Habakkuk and the Psalms. These beautiful books in the Bible reveal that it is ok to ask tough questions. It’s ok to desire truth and understanding.
But we will be challenged because answers are not always simple. Some answers we seek may be too complex for our limited minds to grasp. Some answers can come quickly. Others will arrive in due time. And some we will not be given on this side of heaven.
One of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible is Isaiah 55. God invites people into relationship with Him. He beseeches us to listen to Him as He offers an everlasting covenant of faithful love. He tells us to seek Him while He may be found, turn to Him and in exchange, He promises mercy, forgiveness, joy and His peace to lead us forward.
And for our most complex questions, He says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.”
There are times, like the ones we are facing today, when one can decide to surrender her “why?”s and trust in God’s character and His will. He must search for God in the storm, knowing God is faithful to His promise to never abandon us. Instead of why, the question becomes, “Where are You working? Where can I join you in making a difference?” Like the wind, He may be invisible but there is evidence of His movement.
The person of faith inquires of God, “What do You want to teach me?” Is it patience, trust, abandonment of comforts and other things I am idolizing, contentment in all circumstances? Is it a call to be still and know You are God?
I am convinced, the love of God is always at work inviting everyone to draw nearer to Him and to trust that He is faithful to all of His promises.
It’s time…time for those who are staying quiet to speak loudly their faith. It’s time to reject the fear of rejection and what others might say or think and loudly declare, “Jesus is Lord and I belong to Him.” And it is time for some to speak boldly of their confidence in Jesus and His saving work.
Questions to ponder:
Am I speaking loudly of my trust and faith in Jesus?
Am I looking for where He is working in the midst of this pandemic?
Am I open to learning what He is teaching?