There I sat, waiting. I was in a strange place (by this, I mean a restaurant I don’t normally go to), waiting for a teen I did not know very well. He was only a few minutes late, but those few minutes taught me a great deal about waiting and about certainty.
As the clock ticked past 4pm, and I sat staring at the parking lot from inside, coffee in hand, my thought process shifted from “I’m looking forward to this meeting” to a series of doubt-filled questions:
- Am I in the right place?
- We said 4pm, right?
- I wonder if this meeting will happen.
The moment I saw him walk across the parking lot, the doubt subsided and we ended up having an enjoyable conversation.
What I’ve just described is a fairly typical, unless I’m abnormal – which could be the case – human experience; one of uncertainty. The most important point is not our ability to very quickly slide into the shadow of doubt cast by uncertainty, but the strong desire we truly have for certainty.
This afternoon’s coffee meeting is analogous to my life as a whole… and quite possibly yours as well. I have a real longing for truth and certainty. I can strain, and pine, and doubt, and ask a million questions, but until the truth walks across that parking lot, until it breaks into my life, I ultimately remain uncertain.
This is quite literally how the certainty of Christ comes into our uncertain lives. He surprises us, but the surprise brings peace and understanding. “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John. 10:10). Christ came that we might have certainty – certainty about who we are and that we are loved in the midst of this mysterious thing called life. This is the power and essence of the Christian Event.
Think of the encounter Simeon had with Christ at the temple. Here is an old man who had been promised he would see the Messiah. But he’s old and getting older. We can imagine his thoughts (or maybe I’m just projecting), “Lord, I’m going to die soon. Is this really going to happen?”
And it does happen. “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).
Your Word has been fulfilled. I have seen your salvation. You are the light of truth, the light of revelation.
Christmas will be here before we know it. I know, still more than 4 months, but a few words come to mind:
O holy night
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world, in sin and error pining
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
He appears! He comes and because He, the spoken Word of the Creator, comes, we can know ourselves and our worth. This is the certainty we long for: to know that we are loved and have the capacity to love in return, and to be able not only to love our fellow brothers and sisters, but God himself.
Certainty broke into the lives of the apostles, of John, Andrew, Peter. He broke into the lives of the woman at the well, Zacchaeus, and even Pontius Pilate. He comes to us because we cannot attain the full certainty we want on our own. People have tried for thousands of years. He comes to us because we are fallen. The answer to the problem is Christ. He is extraneous to us. He comes from outside, yet He wants to be one with you and me. He draws close.
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