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12 January 2021
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.
On January 5, I shared my last of a series of 12 carols on Facebook along with a small meditation on being in the capable and good hands of Jesus and resting in that . The next day, January 6 happened with all of its chaos, angst, and anger. I’ve seen so much confusion, defeatism, anger, and rage from those on the left and the right on social media since then. My chief concern, here, is those who profess to be Christians who are convinced that a stolen election, massive fraud, and the end of Trump’s presidency means the end of America. That there is nothing to be done except either give up or get violent or go missing and watch the world burn and say, “I told you so.”
I am not going to argue about whether the election was stolen or not. I’m not going to argue about who started the violence at the Capital—we have no evidence that would stand up in a court of law that antifa started it and Trump supporters were just swept into the fray. Videos can be faked, grainy photos can be tampered with. Personal stories of people who tried to prevent violence and are convinced the people they confronted were not Trump supporters…well, that’s still not proof. They simply don’t know who those people were. Perhaps antifa was there. Perhaps not. I just don’t know. And to become obsessed on that question is not healthy at this point. My only purpose in these three blog posts are to remind you of first things in part one, how to apply first things practically in part two, and to show you in part three how you can have an influence on the political climate of our country for good. The show ain’t over until the fat lady sings and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. There are so many things you can do to fight for the causes you believe in besides resorting to violence or running off to the mountains to hermitize yourself. But first, here’s what I wrote on January 5:
‘[Loving Jesus, Gentle Lamb] is not, strictly speaking, a Christmas carol. But it fits, especially as we tip toe, perhaps trembling and shaking, into this new year.
On Sunday, I taught the kids’ Sunday School lesson at church as their usual teacher was at home not feeling well. So I taught them this song and we explored what it meant for us. All the kids agreed that last year was nuts, bonkers in fact. There was a strange new virus and all the adults who are in charge of things around the world suddenly went postal and decided the kids’ parents weren’t essential and couldn’t go to work, and that the kids couldn’t go to church or school, and that everyone had to stay home. And that’s just a small sample of the nuttery that happened this year. We didn’t even cover riots and crazy elections.
But now it’s a new year. So I asked them what had changed. And we all agreed that not much had. The virus was still here and the adults who are in charge of everything around the world are still bonkers. Things are still, in fact, cattywampus. Which is why the message of this song is so important.
“Loving Jesus, gentle lamb
In thy gracious hands I am.
Make me, Saviour, what thou art.
Live thyself within my heart.
I shall then show forth thy praise,
Serve thee all my happy days.
Then the world shall always see
Christ the holy child in me.”
I think last year was a shock to an audacious, proud world. We have made such strides technologically, medically. We typically consider ourselves in control. Our leaders generally feel they have control over us and they like it that way. This last year showed us all, from lofty presidents and prime ministers to the bag boy at the grocery store that we are most definitely not in control. At all. Things can go belly up remarkably fast. So fast, that in one month, our lives were unrecognizable.
But none of this took Jesus by surprise, the one who is actually in control. Who’s got the whole world in his hands, holding it all together.
And I am in his gracious hands, too. Hands I can trust, because unlike the power hungry politicians who used this situation to seize more control, Jesus is the loving, gentle lamb who takes away the sins of the world. And he is the Lion of Judah who will set things right at the end because he must be just and wrathful as much as he must be loving and gentle.
In his loving, gentle hands, I am safe. Living Himself within my heart, making me what he is, I am secure. Not that nothing bad can happen to me. Because plenty of bad things have over the course of my life and to you as well. (I even got Covid this year.) I mean, existentially safe. Whatever happens, I will be alright. If I die, I will be with Him. If I suffer, I will suffer in His hands. If I am bereaved, I will be bereaved in His hands. I will never be separated from Him, and He will hold me together.
I think you all know, because I’ve made it pretty clear on Facebook, how I have felt about the response to the pandemic by politicians. How I’ve been incensed at the damage they have caused people, especially the poor, with their lockdowns and their rules and regulations. And there is a time and place to fight all of that using the proper channels. But! It must be done while simultaneously at rest in the good hands of Jesus.
That’s the only way to fight without becoming bitter, looking into the abyss and turning into a monster. Resting in the Lamb’s gentle hands makes us free, clear headed, and courageous.
“Then the world shall always see
Christ the holy child in me.”
I hope you’ve enjoyed these last twelve days of Carols. I hope this last song, with its simple, tuneful beauty and its profound message will stay with you for a long time. I hope it will be one of the things God might use to carry you through this next year.’
On January 6, did anything I wrote on January 5 ultimately change? No. But many feel the rug has been pulled out from underneath them. May I suggest in the kindest way possible, that if you are one of those people, you may have planted your feet on the wrong foundation? If our personal worlds collapse because a thing, person, or circumstance is denied us, that is actually the case. And that usually means we have fallen into some kind of idolatry. Christians can do that sometimes, because we still have remaining sin and it can sneak up on us if we are not careful. Don’t beat yourself over the head, just repent. Get your feet out of the sinking sand and get on the rock.
I’ll show you the things that help me do this tomorrow. In the meanwhile, give the song a listen or two. Let the truth wash over you and let it calm your mind and soul.