pastor’s commentary

Stop anxiety with certainty of faith

March 1, 2017 

Certainty stops anxiety. Certain they are going to die, the terminally ill often become peaceful and serene. When we are uncertain we are open to anxiety. In this certain episode, Jesus teaches us a new form of certainty. It is not rigid and rigorous, but fluid, flexible and full of faith.

Jesus enters “into a certain village.” (Luke 10:30) The “certain village,” Bethany, is not named. Perhaps omitted to focus on the certainty that Jesus was always led to “certain” places, situations and people regardless of the specific village or place. It then becomes less about where we are and more about our certainty in each “certain” moment.

Certainly, we are led into certain places every day – to school, work, or the market on errands and assignments. Even if we find ourselves confined to bed due to illness, certain others are led our way. Our certain opportunity is to see and hear in those moments. Like the doctor’s practice, we practitioners of holy listening, looking, and learning in each certain place and encounter.

When we are in certain places every day for years – the same house, kitchen, office, desk, car or village – our practice can lose its edge. We become arrogant, complacent or bitter unless we embrace the live joy of listening and seeing like Jesus did in each certain moment. Good news! The same Spirit who streamed through Jesus’ earthly life streams through us for seeing, hearing, healing and delivering today.

This is revolutionary! Following Jesus has little to do with our place, possessions, or position. It has everything to do with our certainty that the Holy Spirit of Jesus is leading us; that Jesus’ voice is speaking to us, his sheep, and that as he assures us, we will follow. We become increasingly certain that Father God is working every detail together for his good plan and purpose. Certain that, we are his opus through which he is creating good works prepared in advance through us in Christ Jesus. Our joy is the certainty that those good works are occurring whether we think we are having a good day or not. We are certain that “this is the day” he is perfectly organizing!

Like Jesus, we know we are going somewhere today and that, no matter how much we ponder and plan, we don’t know the specifics. In this certain situation in this “certain village” with this “certain woman” named Martha and her sister, Mary, the specifics of what happens next are so profound that they get recorded in the Holy Scripture! We can be certain that the events of our lives matter just as much and are being placed in God’s eternal Scriptures for everlasting use and glory!

Do you ever hear people longing to be somewhere else and bad-mouthing where they are today? Contentment looks and listens into our present and certain place. Lust, covetousness and discontent long to be elsewhere.

Let’s listen, look, and learn to be in the certain place. It is holy ground. Take off your shoes. Stay awhile. Breathe. Cease striving. Rest in your so infinitely “certain” and secure God!

As musician, Steven Stills sings, “If you can’t be with the one (job, person, opportunity) you love, Honey, love the one you’re with.” And let God do the rest! Certainly!

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