Do you ever listen to an old hymn and wonder when Christians began writing such easy, poppy lyrics? I know I do.
Blessed Assurance was written in 1873, 142 years later it still speaks right to my heart, and I think that there is something special about simple truths being proclaimed with powerful words. This hymn is one of my personal favorites (along with “How Deep the Father’s Love” and “Come Thou Fount”) and although the entire song is fantastic, it is these first four lines that stand out most.
Blessed Assurance Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood
In these few words we find the basis of our salvation through not only Jesus but also the trinity as a whole, and also that cool feeling we get when we catch but a taste of heaven here on earth. Really it is this blessed assurance that keeps us going, or at least keeps me going. Those subtle moments where doubt passes away and all that is left is peace.
I had one of those moments during one of my flights heading to Brisbane.
Now this might not be exactly the same assurance that is expressed in the old hymn, but regardless it was a blessed sort of assurance. Now in order for this to all make sense, I should probably explain the space that my heart was in leading up to this moment. See I have been working at summer camp the past two months, before that I was busy working another job, and before that I was in school. It wasn’t even until two weeks before camp that I knew I was going to be flying to another country and learning about my faith in a deeper way. Being at camp posed an interesting dynamic, as it always does, where getting anything done for the “outside world”, is near impossible. In previous years I have had school stuff to get through at camp, and it was tough but I got it all done. Going through my visa, and YWAM application, and criminal record checks, and and and… Basically this year was a little more packed. But there was one oddity. I wasn’t stressed. All summer I never felt even a hint of stress, But how could this be? How could I be moving across the world, on an adventure that will likely change my life, and feel basically nothing? Well I of course had a sound answer for that. Camp is very busy you see and I did not have any time to process any of this. So obviously I would get super excited as soon as I arrived home, I mean I only had two days at home before I would leave. But then, nothing. No excitement, no stress, no feeling. Wait, what? But I was home and I now had two days to process it all. Oh, I get it, two days isn’t enough to get ready to move across the world. The processing would have to come in my 24 hours in airports and on planes. Ummmmm, nope, nothing… So it was this moment, flying from Edmonton to Phoenix, that I had a crazy idea. It was silly really. Maybe, just maybe, I should ask God what the answer was. And sure enough, he gave me an answer. Peace.
Philippians 4:7 talks about the peace that surpasses all understanding, and never in my life have I experienced it in this same fullness. This whole summer while I was expecting stress and nervous excitement God was preparing my heart for this next chapter. I realized instead that I have been living in excitement, just not nervous excitement. And I have been experiencing anticipation for things ahead, instead of wishing for things ahead. And God did this whole work in me, without me even seeing it.
The conclusion I have come to today is that God is, and always will be, constant. Situations and places might change, but He will stay the same. Most my life, especially when I go through a period of growth, I get nervous about the next chapter and if I will fall because my surroundings change. But I know now that God will never change and that through Him I can go with confidence into all things. It’s a pretty cool place to be in.