Monday, April 28, 2008

Jesus is Enough

We visited a new church yesterday, Basswood Church in Knoxville. It was small, but I loved it. However, the purpose of this post is not to talk about the church, it's to talk about the sermon. I tell you what, this was the perfect sermon for me and my situation, and so I want to share a little bit of it with you.

The basic theme of the sermon was "Jesus is enough." Besides several Scriptures from the Gospel of John, another thing the pastor used to sum up the concept well was the first question and answer from the Heidelberg Catechism:
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?

A. That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven: in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

Growing up Southern Baptist, I'm not incredibly familiar with catechisms, but I believe they can be really valuable in understanding and expressing doctrine. This particular question and answer just blows me away. Really the most significant part of it to me at the moment is the fourth word of the question: ONLY. What is your ONLY comfort in life and in death? And the short answer to that question is Jesus.

As many of you know, we have suffered a series of heartbreaking and unexplainable disappointments in Justin's search for a job and a place for us to get settled. We never imagined we would be home from Moldova for more than 4 months and still not know where we were supposed to be and what we were supposed to be doing. We still cling to faith that God knows what He has for us, and it will be revealed in His time, but that is HARD and some days are worse than others for us. We had one especially shattering disappointment last week that sent us both reeling - there is absolutely no reason on earth why this place wouldn't have hired Justin. But they didn't, and it's easy to get discouraged and even start to despair.

But God used the sermon this week to really call my attention to the fact that when I allow news about a job to shake me so much, that shows me that I am not allowing my only hope and comfort in life to be in Christ alone. This is something that I confess and want to do better about. But the truth is that the story doesn't end there - I failed, repent, and will try to do better - but that's not what I'm trying to say with this post. The real message that I'm trying to get across here is not my own short-sightedness, but Christ's all-surpassing sufficiency.

The reality is that JESUS IS ENOUGH. A job for Justin, a home of our own, even a healthy baby - all of these are good things but they are not worthy of my hope. They cannot provide me comfort in life and in death. That amazing list in the catechism answer of all that Christ has done and continues to do for me, THAT is what is worthy of my hope and what is my ONLY valid comfort in life. When I allow Christ to be my only comfort and joy, the other things just aren't as important, and He opens my eyes to see how BLESSED we are even without them. Although our circumstances aren't what we would choose, we lack for nothing because God has richly provided all our needs for us, and I believe that there are parts about this time in our life that we will miss once we move on to the next thing.

I do believe that the things we long for will come to us - God promises in His Word that He knows the plans He has for us and they are plans for our prosperity, welfare, and hope (Jer. 29:11). But in the meantime I am content to wait for His perfect will to be revealed for us, because I already have everything I need both in this life and for all eternity: Christ Himself.


Liz Waters said...

Thanks for this post, Joni. It's timely for us too. I thought I knew what career path I was going down, and it's all up in the air for me right now. However, I know that it's more of a blessing to depend on God than to try to do it myself and He'll really be able to grow me in new ways through this! Praying for you guys!

Jackie said...

We're growing and stretching right along with you! You're in my prayers and I enjoy your posts- as they always have some tid bit I need to hear! The song "More than enough" keeps playing on the radio when I need to hear it and I just love it!