We are living in extraordinary times. It seems like COVID-19 has affected almost everything in life, creating the greatest global crisis since the last world war. In tough times, people ask tough questions about life. When our normal routines are disrupted and the things we love are threatened, often our minds become focussed to thinking about what really matters most. Through unwelcome circumstances, an opportunity is given to gain clarity.
Over the next five weeks in a new sermon series, we are going to explore some of the tough questions in life. These questions may not touch everyone at the moment, but they do touch on issues that everyone will encounter at some time or other. These are the questions we’ll be thinking about: ‘Where is God when it hurts?’, ‘Where can I find peace that’s not based on circumstances?’, ‘How can there will be only one true faith?’, ‘How can I find hope to face anything?’, and ‘What am I missing in life?’.
Jesus knows about our situation.
We tackle these questions cautiously, so let me apply a few qualifications.
First, because of the sheer magnitude of the questions, we cannot possibly say all there is to be said. Instead, this is a process where we can investigate and search out, and hopefully once we’re done to have fresh convictions.
Second, the problem with approaching these questions is that we may appear to be saying that we have all the answers. We don’t have all the answers. In some respects, there are some areas in which we can’t find all the answers. Moses said, ‘The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law’ (Deut. 29:29). We won’t always have full clarity because there are some answers that God keeps secret. However, God has revealed enough to us for us to follow him in faith.
Some of our questions come from examining and experiencing the painful sides of life. Whilst we may get some answers that satisfy the intellect, but that doesn’t always bring us peace. We need someone who understands our circumstances and our pain; someone who has walked the road before us. Christianity is unique in saying that God entered into our mess and got his hands dirty. ‘For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need’ (Hebrews 4:15-16). Jesus knows about our situation. We may not always find all the answers, but we can be comforted in knowing he’s with us.
This series is aimed at equipping and engaging: equipping God’s people to give reasons for the hope they have (1 Peter 3:15); and engaging people with the gospel of Jesus. I warmly encourage you to share these talks with others and start a conversation on faith with them.
When I was asked to write something once more on getting through the difficulties of COVID restrictions, I’ll admit that a small part of me just wanted to rehash my old draft. After all, we’re in the 5th wave. It’s just the same old same old again, right? I felt this...
To be human is to experience temptation. I’m not just talking about eating a ‘Chocolate Temptation’ dessert, or the temptation to take an afternoon nap. Everyone experiences the temptation to sin; the urge to do something that we ought not to do, to give in to that...
As you think about the coming year, do you feel optimistic or rather gloomy? Like most people, I feel more settled when I know what’s coming. But the difficulty is that 2022 looks so unknown. COVID makes having certainty difficult. We can be certain that this year...