She looks at the words on the page and waits for them to sink in. It’s not that she doesn’t believe the words could be true. It’s not that she thinks the words she hears from God can’t bring hope, can’t produce good.
But these words she hears – now that she is hurting, now that she is overwhelmed – she questions whether or not they are enough. Before she realizes it, she weighs “I love you” from God against what she wish he would go ahead and say: “I am going to help you and bring an end to this discomfort, this unknown, right now.”
Is that what we want most from God? Do we want fewer “I love you’s” and more “This is the solution to your problem; do this, now”? Uncertainty is uncomfortable. Discomfort feels like our enemy.
If we had a choice, would we tend to avoid uncertainty and discomfort, at the expense of the faith of the heart?
I can so easily forget that the things I am most uncertain about are not the things I need to care about most. Yet, in the midst of depression or cancer, in the midst of experiencing abuse or poor self-image, we can trick ourselves into believing the lie that sneaks in, insidious and slow: “God’s ‘I love you’ isn’t good enough. God’s ‘I am here’ isn’t going to do the job.” We struggle to surrender control of what we can’t, and we make ourselves believe we are powerless, defenseless – pawns in a game we felt we never agreed to play.
I love you. You’re okay. I am here.
He didn’t say when the pain was going to end.
I can be the strong one. You can count on me.
He didn’t say for how long I would feel so awful, so sick, so weak.
You can get through this. I will give you wisdom and remain with you. Trust in me.
He didn’t say if the money is going to come in or if I am going to make the right decision. I may totally fall.
So, what prevents us from believing God’s love is enough for us?
Why is a lie that makes no sense – we should pursue certainty in what we can’t control, rather than have faith in the reality of God’s love – so easily believed?
I wonder if this is part of the problem: we convince ourselves that God’s love is distant from us when we are hurting. Unconsciously, we make God’s love something that doesn’t apply to our lives. Sure, we think, Scripture may bring comfort; God’s words may temporarily assuage fears, offer hope. Yet, we can easily find ourselves doubting that God’s love is more than just words on a page. What feels most real is this: I am overwhelmed; I am desperate; I can’t imagine how this pain will ever subside. We forget that the reality of God’s love, represented in Scripture and heard, oftentimes, by his whisper in our hearts, in prayer, is the one and only thing we can count on.
God’s I love you is more than a claim. God’s I am here is more than a promise. God’s you are my beloved is more than a hope.
It is truth – truth cemented in the reality of a King who came as Word in flesh. It is his flesh, God’s I love you, that is the one certainty of our lives.
The thing is, while we may oftentimes feels overwhelmed by the pain of this world, it is God’s Word that gives us strength. While we may feel we are too broken, too weary, too incompetent to live a life in faith, it is God’s Word that gives us power. Our weapon used in breaking the lie that God’s love is not certain? It is Jesus, the Word in flesh. This is why words whispered to our hearts from God – and, most accurately, words born of Scripture – are more than words. Words are more than sound heard through the air, more than story read from a screen, more than ink design on a page.
God’s word is a person who fought and died on our behalf, and who fights for us, sword in hand, still.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
If the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, if it can cut through more than the temporal – destroy the lies of the enemy we so easily believe – can’t we believe God’s Word to us is a better promise to believe in than false certainty? The only certainty we have, in fact, is Jesus, God’s love.
God, when we are desperate and overwhelmed, we want to hear you; yet we find ourselves struggling to accept what you don’t say as much as what you do. You say you are with us, but you don’t promise our circumstances will ever change. Help us be okay with that – believe in your words, your whispers to us, your heart for us. Help us trust in what you say, as much as what you don’t say, too.
Words can count for everything or for nothing. When we are desperate for hope, the words God speaks to our heart, his I love you is more than a string of words. God’s I love you is Jesus. Together, let’s cling to God as our sustenance, our strength. This is how words have meaning. His Son come down. His flesh our food. His blood our drink. His words we believe although cannot see.
That’s what certain.