8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead and descended from David, according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer to the point of being bound like a criminal. But the word of God is not bound. 10 This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 11 This saying is trustworthy: For if we died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.
2 Timothy 2:8-13
World War II, the nuclear age, polio, cross burnings, rubella, Korea, the cold war, Vietnam, 9/11. During my lifetime, I can remember all the occurrences listed here. In each case, there was real uncertainty—“What will we do if…?” Was I afraid? Perhaps. Did I understand? Probably not. Was I actually hopeless? Never. You might wish to disagree with me, but think about it.
As our scripture today states, Jesus suffered a lot more than you and I ever have or ever will. He was bound like a criminal for sins He did not commit. He received crucifixion, a punishment that nailed Him to a wooden beam where He hung until He was exhausted and the life literally drained out of Him. Why did He do this? He wanted us, His elect, to have the security of salvation and protection from eternal destruction and despair. He wanted to guarantee for us a place with eternal glory, reigning with Him.
In 1654, Thomas Brooks wrote a book entitled Heaven on Earth in which he addressed the assurance we have in Jesus. “Beloved, in our dearest Lord, you are those worthies ‘of whom this world is not worthy.’ You are the princes ‘that prevail with God.’ You are those ‘excellent ones’ in whom is all Christ’s delight. You are His glory. You are His picked, culled, prime instruments which He will make use of to carry on His best and greatest work against His worst and greatest enemies in these latter days.”
Notice the last line. In these “latter” days of grave illness, riots, robberies, murders, financial insecurity, the unknowns…what can we expect? If I die, “Heaven is my gain.” If I lose my house, “A mansion awaits me.” If I lose my money, “I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold.”* If the world is at war, “This world is not my home, I’m just a’passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door, and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”**
Jesus is alive, faithful and trustworthy. Put all your trust in Him to care for you and protect you each day until the day you are called to your eternal home.
* Shea/Miller, 1933
** J. R. Baxter, Jr., 1946
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Do you live each day in joy?
- Do you let circumstances steal your happiness?
- Do you REALLY trust Jesus to take care of you?
- Do you look forward to the day we all gather in Heaven and enjoy a peaceful secure existence?
- If you answered “No” to any of these questions, ask yourself why. Seek counsel if you need it.
As a family, make a list of unknowns. These can be serious or lighthearted—whatever comes to mind. (i.e. what dinner will be tomorrow night, whether your favorite team will win their next game, when remote learning will end (if applicable), when a sick friend or family member will get well, etc.)
Allow your children to feel the discomfort associated with things being unknown, then make a list of knowns. As you make this list, encourage your children to focus on what they know about God from His Word, specifically from 2 Timothy 2:8-13. Encourage your children to focus on what they know about God whenever they feel afraid, uneasy, or frustrated about the unknowns. For example, “We don’t know when this person we love will get well, but we do know that God will always be faithful to us.”
Take a few moments to pray together, bringing your unknowns to God. Thank Him for His consistency and the many ways He makes Himself known through His Word.