It’s been a quiet few weeks which has been welcome. I’ve rearranged the living room furniture, read a few more books and have been spending time thinking of ideas and direction for my writing. One of the books that I have been working through is ’21 Servants of Sovereign Joy’ by John Piper. It’s a collection of biographies of 21 church leaders from history – seven volumes in ‘The Swans Are Not Silent’ series all brought together. Piper includes Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Newton, William Wilberforce, George Whitefield, William Tyndale, C.S. Lewis, Charles Spurgeon, George Muller, Hudson Taylor and more. I have been encouraged and challenged by the lives of these men who faced trials, challenges and struggles but displayed perseverance, faithfulness and trust as they followed Jesus.
Why am I writing about this?
C.S. Lewis said ‘We read to know we are not alone’ and I have found comfort in Christians that have lived before me from the earliest centuries until now. Each individual has lived through a different time, yet reading about their lives reminds me that the issues that I see in the world today are not that different from then. The human heart across generations still has a problem with sin, evil is evident even if it is not called evil, but despite that there is hope to be found.
I am finding that there really is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). With Brexit dividing the nation, world leaders causing friction, the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer, wars and many, many other things that can unsettle, anger and upset us, it only takes a glance through history to see that this has all happened before. It may have looked different in the past but history does repeat itself. Are we forgetting the lessons from those who have gone before us? What are we placing our trust and our hope in? Or more importantly, who are we placing our trust and hope in?
‘I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.’ C.S. Lewis
As I continue to read these biographies, I am encouraged to continue to follow Christ, even in the face of great trials and opposition. Oh, how I wish I knew all the answers to all of the questions people have about the Christian faith. Would that make me more confident to have more conversations with people about the love of Christ? Perhaps. But it’s not about having all the answers. It’s about trusting in the One who was at the beginning and who knows how it ends; who brings light because in Him there is no darkness at all.
Jesus entered our world and gives us Himself – He holds nothing back from us. God is not distant. He entered our humanity and suffered. It is only by becoming one of us that He could take the sin of every single person upon Himself and pay the penalty. When we look at the evil in the world, we seek retribution, we want answers, sometimes we want revenge, but ultimately, we want justice. Therefore, a just, holy God looking at the gross injustice of sin and evil says ENOUGH. The last words of Jesus were ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30).
I do not need to have everything figured out, nor do I need to live in fear. Time is always ticking, life is always changing, but there is a certain hope that we have in Christ – a hope that says ‘it is finished’ and even death could not contain the power of the Most High God. Through Jesus we have a life that is secure no matter what amount of money sits in our bank account, no matter what sickness plagues us, no matter what storm gets thrown against us. Our anchor is grounded and planted at the foot of the cross and our hearts are open like the rolled-away stone from the tomb, transforming into the likeness of Christ. May the certain hope of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ be a firm, unshakeable foundation in the turbulent, ground-shifting world in which we live.