Certainty in an uncertain world

I’m never very sure about those 24-hour news channels on TV these days.

I’m never very sure about those 24-hour news channels on TV these days.

At best, they repeat everything every 20 minutes, which can become somewhat monotonous. When something significant happens, they offer saturation coverage to the point where you just don’t want to hear anymore about it.

And then, when nothing is really happening, they fill the time with trivia from around the world which only toys with your emotions and is probably not worthy of being broadcast nationally anyway.

Since good news is rarely if ever shared, this continual barrage of disaster and desolation, trauma and tragedy, war and wantonness, can leave us feeling these tough times unsettled and uncertain.

And as such, it simply adds to our own sense of uncertainty. In these tough economic times, what if I lose my job? Is this relationship in my life going as it should? Why don’t I feel closer to my kids or grandkids? Is that earthquake we felt, the forerunner of something much worse?

When we are confronted by all of this, we wonder and we fret, we become worried, distressed, anxious, irritated, resentful about so many things. And none that helps us to deal with, to come to terms with, the challenges we face and the concerns we have.

We can, however, take reassurance from God’s promise which Paul noted when he wrote to the new Christian church in Rome, “None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us.

I’m  absolutely convinced that nothing — nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, from high or low, thinkable or unthinkable — absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” (Romans 8:37-39 from The Message by Eugene Peterson.).

That promise does not exempt us from any difficulty or obstacle in life, but it does reassure us that through it all we are loved and cared for, and that love will surround us always, in this life and the next.

Priscilla Jane Owens lived in Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States in the 19th century.

She was a school teacher, and taught Sunday School at Union Square Methodist Episcopal Church in her home town.

She wrote hymns, many of them for her Sunday School students.

One of her best-loved hymns, the official hymn of the Boy’s Brigade, raises a question that is as vital today as when it was written and offers an answer that speaks to that reassurance we seek:

“Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,

When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?

When the storm tides life, and the cables strain, Will your anchor drift, or firm remain?

We have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll;

Fastened to the rock which cannot move, Grounded firm, and deep in the Saviour’s love.”

We can always be certain of God’s love, care, and compassion for each one of us, especially in the midst of life in an uncertain world.

– Rev. Robert Kerr