Certainty & Clarity

Last week I attended the funeral of a 21-year-old young man killed in a single-vehicle car accident. It seems he fell asleep at the wheel while driving through some mountainous terrain nearby.

A large crowd gathered to remember him, to support his family, and to share the experience of grief. Loss always produces grief, and grief has a way of producing questions.

Certainty 2Why? Why this? Why here? Why now? Why him?

Our hearts cry out for clarity. We want to understand. We assume that answers will produce comfort. So, we wrestle with “why.” We try to pin it to the mat, to force a response, to get clarity.

The opening words of the funeral service touched me deeply. How do we explain the death of a child or the untimely death of a young adult or even the passing of a young mom? The pastor delineated between certainty and clarity. “We want clarity, to explain what has already happened,” he said. “Instead, we have certainty that supports the soul.”

The Bible reminds us, over and over, of the certainties that carry us through seasons when we yearn for clarity. We can be certain that:

Nothing can separate us from the love of God
God’s grace is sufficient for our every need
God’s power is perfected in our weakness
God’s Presence supports and sustains us
God hears the prayers of His people
Eternity rests in God’s hands, as do we
God’s Spirit comforts and holds us
God is surprised by nothing, overwhelmed by nothing, and transcends everything.

In times of loss and grief, my questions can easily grow larger than His reality; my sadness distracts me from His goodness; my fear blinds me to His love. My desire for clarity can overshadow the gift of certainty that Christ extends.

I sat with the crowd last week — many young people facing mortality with confusion — and the words of certainty (the words of faith) brought hope and perspective. When I lack clarity, I can rest on certainty.

Because of grace.

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10 Responses to Certainty & Clarity

  1. Tim Riter says:

    David, you said it well. So often, we ask the wrong questions. Certainty is the key.

  2. Tim Ross says:

    Thank God for His certainty that He gives to us. In a terribly uncertain world, He is certain. I looked up certainty in the dictionary: a fact about which there is no doubt, the quality or state of being certain especially on the basis of evidence. We can see the work He has done in the lives of those He saved in the Bible, in the work He did on the cross, and in our own lives. Because He has given us a great amount of evidence that He is faithful, we can be certain of His promises. God is so good. In an uncertain world where college kids are murdered randomly, where people go to the mall and murder random people, and where dictators kill millions of their people, we have certainty that He is with us, has already saved us, and will be our home forever. I thank God for His certainty.

  3. Jerry Heetland says:

    Unfortunately, for many that certainty does not come until we get into the “advancing” years, and for many more it never comes! To many today look at the Bible not as a book about the certainty of our future with Christ in heaven, but as a book of ancient stories, myths and rules that no longer serve the purpose of an “advancing and more enlightened world” world.

    • David Timms says:

      Jerry, I wonder if heaven is just one of the certainties … alongside the great certainty of His love, His comfort, His Presence, and His grace this side of the grave. Perhaps too few people live deeply in those certainties, too?

  4. colin says:

    This is a theme you repeat quite frequently. I believe it will need to be said again. Its good to be reminded of such things. And wouldn’t it be nice if we could have such certainties with people? This truly is an area in which God excels.

  5. Jan Neff says:

    4 years ago my mom died from complications two days after a trip and fall down her basement stairs. She was 85 and in good health, so it was a complete surprise. I realized then that no matter how long you have your mom (or dad), if you have a good relationship, it’s never long enough! But my thoughts surprised me, as I leaned over her in her hospital bed, putting my face next to hers as she drew her last breath. “God, is all this I’ve believed all these years really true? Is Mom really with You? Or is it all over when death knocks? It feels like maybe I’m believing a fairy tale.” I truly grappled with those thoughts for a few days. Then I came to the same conclusion Peter did. “But where would we go, Lord? You alone have the words of life.” My feelings did catch up to my faith, but oh my! How the enemy can tempt when we’re down!

  6. David Timms says:

    Thanks for sharing some of your story, Jan. I love that line — “feelings catching up to faith.” How true, at times.

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