Everywhere, Always in God’s Hands

Tracy was a psychic. She was a member of a church I once served. It wasn’t that she had some extraordinary gift where she could see into the future. She had simply responded to a “help wanted” ad one day and got a job on a physic hotline. People would call and as she talked to the person, she would figure out what it was they most wanted to hear. She thought of her job as a counselor. She would tell the caller something about themselves that was obvious from the conversation. Then she would tell the caller what they most wanted would come true.

Type in “psychic” on Google and there are ninety-one million, four hundred thousand results. I can see the appeal of searching for answers to questions about the future. Who wouldn’t like to hear that the future will be filled with loving and healthy relationships, our dream job and financial abundance? All of which can be tantalizing. Trusting the “psychic,” we can be confident we are meant to get everything we want and think we need. Which all works, until our hotline psychic’s words are proved false and unreliable.

Jesus never made promises that our lives would be without problems. He never said we could go through life without getting hurt, losing a person we love, or being treated unfairly. He made no promises that we would never get sick, have cancer or Covid19. Following Jesus would not protect our families from divorce, or our children from the consequence of bad decisions.

Instead, Jesus warned his followers they would experience hardship. The night before he died, Jesus shared his heart with his disciples. He promised the gift of the Holy Spirit who would come to them as an “Advocate, Companion, Helper, Comforter, Counselor and Redeemer.” They would need that gift, because up ahead life would be more than challenging. The future would bring trials  which would test their faith.

We live in formidable times testing our own character and our resolve. Long simmering issues have exploded in our nation and in our world. Covid19’s global pandemic is taxing our courage and our faith. The words Jesus encouraged his disciples with, speak to me in this day. “In the world” he said, “you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Those first disciples would would face trials and hardship as they told the good news of Jesus. Their motives would be questioned. Old friends would turn against them. They would be condemned, not only because of their faith, but because of their welcome to groups which were ostracized. There would be theological arguments to hammer out.  Along with a constant need to deal with matters they had never thought about before.  Some would be imprisoned and die for their faith in Jesus. Through it all, they would find comfort and strength as the Spirit of God worked in and through their lives, overcoming insurmountable obstacles, reassuring them they were not alone. Paving a way, so all of us, can know the presence of God’s spirit in our lives.

We may never have all that we wish, hope or pray for.  No psychic will be able to predict our future.   What we do have is this:  There is nowhere we can go without being held in God’s hands and surrounded by God’s love. Our hearts may break, a crisis shake us to our core . . . But, Jesus, the one who overcomes, remains with us. Always reminding us, be it tribulation, trial, sorrows, suffering, affliction or distress, “to be of good cheer,” for he has “overcome the world.”