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Upheaval.  That seems to be a good word for what I’ve experienced lately.

The landscape of my life seems to always be changing.  It’s hard to find a firm footing.

Some good friends of ours moved away a few months ago, and we’re about to bid farewell to another couple of friends within the next several weeks.

Another one of my closest friends may be moving out of state in the near future as well.

We’ve grieved a loss in our extended family this year, and felt the weight of failing health in other precious family members and friends.

We’ve known the despairing sting of futility–in making our own plans and seeing them fall through, no matter how hard we tried to work out the logistics–in gardening, in homeschooling, in trying to get enough sleep, in family visits, and in many other projects and pursuits.

In the same moments that we are (by the grace of God) learning to plan and manage our lives more effectively and efficiently, more responsibilities and cares pile themselves like memorial stones set to remind us that we are not ultimately in control.

And the current state of our home is an analogy for all of the above–our one-room remodel project is stretching into its second month–and, try as I may to ignore the mess and mayhem, a simple walk from the kitchen to the front door brings it screaming to my attention.  Because if I don’t survey the landscape and watch my step I might trip over a paint can, run into a stack of boxes, or knock over the bed and box spring leaning against the couch.

This maze of a house we are living in right now is not for the faint of heart.

And neither is life itself.


If I try to stand on the good gifts God has given me in this life–blessed relationships, material possessions, good health, intellect and abilities, position and influence, the experience of all things temporally enjoyable, comforting, and familiar–I will predictably falter when they begin to wane.

My self and my circumstances are ultimately unpredictable and unreliable.  They make for a feeble and faulty foundation, indeed.

But I have a Rock, a firm foundation in Christ.  Those who hope in Him will not be disappointed.

While mowing this morning I listened to a few chapters from Knowing God by J. I. Packer, finishing with the chapter on adoption into the family of God.  It moved me to the core.  When I struggle spiritually, when I am tempted to despair, it is most often rooted in a forgetfulness of God’s promises and love for me in Christ Jesus, usually clouded over with self-condemnation and a focus on the temporal things that have me confused, cast-down, and unsatisfied.

I know my sin and my need for a Savior.  I know Jesus died to pay the penalty for my sin so that by faith I can be forgiven and escape eternal condemnation, but as Packer so richly reminded me today, Jesus not only purchased my pardon but brought me into the Family.  And the love which the Father has had for His Son throughout all eternity is mine now as a child of God.

Justification–having a declared righteousness and peace with God through Christ–is glorious because it brings me to Him.  And, as Romans 8 so emphatically reminds me, nothing can separate me from His love.

And beyond the amazing solace that brings me now, how quickly I also forget the hope of glory that is to come–to be in the presence of God, free from sin and death and suffering, but not merely as one who is tolerated in God’s presence, but as one who is loved, welcomed, embraced, and delighted in as a beloved child.

I can’t really begin to express all that this means and its effect on me as I continue to walk the maze in my living room and in the world-at-large.  I still slip and fall when, like Peter did on the sea, I look at the storm around me and the unsettling terrain below me.

“Why did you doubt?”

There was nothing in the waves holding Peter up.  It was the Lord Jesus Himself.  All he needed to do to literally keep his head above water was to look to Jesus and believe.

And I suppose at the end of the day the same goes for me, too.

Would you sing this hymn with me?  Let’s declare the truth that our hearts so often forget.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.