“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” John 16:25-27
In God’s self-revelation to us we can know with certainty that he is ‘for us’.
There is an episode in Star Trek: The Next Generation (‘Whose Watching the Watchers’, Season 3 Episode 4) where the Enterprise crew encounters a planet where people come to believe that the ship’s captain, Jean Luc Picard, is God. The episode culminates with a chaotic scene where one of the believers has an arrow aimed at the heart of crewmember Commander Troi. Some of the people think ‘God’ wants them to kill her while others do not. They question how they are to understand ‘God’s will’. At that pivotal moment, Commander Troi proclaims, “That’s the problem with believing in a divine being, you never really know what they want you to do.” Clearly the writers of this postmodern science-fiction drama constructed this entire episode around the delivery of that one line. However, even for followers of Jesus Christ, there is a small bit of rather painful truth in those words.
Do we really know God well enough to know his will? Can we really trust him? How do we know that the loving God of today will not change to a wrathful God tomorrow? What certainty do we have that we can know God’s will with confidence and trust his heart without exception? Rephrasing the Deanna Troi’s question, “how do we know for sure what it is that God wants us to do?”
Our only trustworthy source for answers is God’s incredible love for us that we know through his self-revelation to us in Jesus Christ. Hear these words from Romans and claim them for your own. They provide us with the absolute certainty, the unquestionable confidence, the unequivocal answer to the questions of God’s nature, love, mercy and grace towards us.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose… what, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:28, 31-32
Make no mistake, my friends, the heart of God that has been revealed to us in Jesus Christ is our Creator God who is for us, and has been from all eternity.
Take a 3 x 5 card or small piece of paper and write on it, “If God is for me, who can stand against me?” Carry it with you or put it in a place where you can see it consistently throughout your day. Meditate on that thought as you face the issues and challenges of the week. How does that word of assurance impact your outlook on your day? What does it say to you about God, life, work, suffering and joy? Write down your responses on the other side of the card, and then decide how you will remember this lesson throughout the rest of your life.
Gracious heavenly Father, I thank you that I can have the certainty of knowing that you are for me. I claim at this moment the truth that you love me, you created me just as I am, you walk with me every moment and your grace flows to me without limit. Lord, I should be overwhelmed by all of this, but so often I forget it, or downplay it or simply take it all for granted. Instill in me the wonder of your love. Let me know again the deep peace that comes from the assurance that if you are for me, no one can stand against me. Overwhelm my timid and tired spirit with your courageous and triumphant Holy Spirit. I pray with David that you would restore unto me the joy of my salvation. In everything I think, say and do this day, let me be influenced by your presence, guided by your hand and secure in your love for me. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.