Looking Back – Looking Ahead

clock_towerThe Christian faith is a paradox of time, possibly like nothing else. It is in this paradox of time, however, that we find great mystery and yet we also find a strong and lasting peace. We can see in Scripture the many times that God’s people have looked back at His faithfulness, and yet, we are “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Philippians 3:13b).

To really live effectively in the present, it is helpful to have a biblical understanding of the past as well as our future. As we look back, we remember God’s faithfulness, not our failures. As we look forward we press on in the faith and power of the gospel–knowing that Christ has already accomplished for us, what we could not accomplish for ourselves.

“O God, Our Help in Ages Past” is a hymn that is a singable illustration of these biblical truths. Originally published as part of The Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament in 1719 by Isaac Watts. It was also later published by John Wesley in his hymnal Psalms and Hymns in 1738.

It speaks of God’s faithfulness in the past as our assurance of His presence and power in the future. Take a few moments this week and write down moments of God’s faithfulness to you. As you take the time to reflect, I believe you will find that though life can often be hard, God is indeed good. No matter what state I may find myself in, I can know that through God’s faithfulness, I am so much better off than I deserve–and you are too!

A couple years ago, Tommy Walker did an arrangement of this hymn and added a chorus that really sums the whole thought up well–“O God Your are–You are our Help, You are our Helper! In all generations You will be–forever and ever–Our Shield and our eternal Hope, O Lord! You are the Ancient of Days and worthy of our praise!”.  As we sing this hymn, let’s remember the unfailing love and faithfulness of our Lord…He is good!

*An updated and tasteful arrangement of this hymn can be found at Red Tie Music (www.redtiemusic.com).

The Joy of Utter “Hopelessness”

“Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable”. –Psalm 145:3

Have you ever set out on something you thought was a lost cause? Maybe it was the class ring you lost while riding on a ten mile wilderness trail, or maybe it was that time you tried to convince your father to borrow the car “one more time” only two days after you wrecked it? In any case, whatever the situation, it looked dire and almost hopeless. Well, there is another “hopeless” pursuit that we are called to as believers–one in which the full paradox of the Scriptures comes into full realization. This “hopeless” pursuit is unlike any other you’ve been on, though, because in this pursuit, the more “lost” you feel, the more “found” you realize you are; the more that you pursue in “vain”, the more meaning you actually find; the more thirsty you are, the more satisfied you become; the more persecuted and rejected you are, the more you find real acceptance—and the list could go on.

The pursuit that we’re talking about here is the never-ending pursuit of God. In Psalm 145, we see that His greatness is unsearchable.  It’s not that God cannot be found, because it is God’s very desire to have a relationship with you for He says, “…and ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart” – (Jer 29:13).  The thing is, that once you are found in Him, you begin the never-ending journey of discovering how unsearchable and endless God’s love and character truly is. This one “hopeless” pursuit is the only thing in life that can actually provide real and lasting joy.

One of my favorite songs of the last couple of years is “Greatness of Our God” (track 11 on the ChurchLife Worship Band CD). In this song there is a line that says “..and no sky contains, no doubt restrains all You are, the greatness of our God”. Not only is this excellent songwriting, but this is an incredibly simple phrasing of a profound eternal truth. The God that you and I serve is greater and stronger than our most challenging trials, and whether or not we choose to believe Him, He is still the same God and still loves us just as much. The flip side is also true–there is no skeptic or doubter that can make God any less than, well, God. He is God and we are not. The end. Fine. And because of this, I plan to continue my “hopeless” pursuit today of the unsearchable riches of God. I hope you will join me, and in doing so, let us find lasting joy in the journey.

%d bloggers like this: