Truth is Truth

"You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me." - Psalm 40:11 This is a sometimes monthly column concerning the truth of Christ Jesus and the issues that face our world as published in various newspapers and journals by Pastor Dave Seaford. You can return to the home page of the church by going to:

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Location: Redway, California, United States

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Integrity, Relevance & Change

Excuse me sir. Do you have any change?

Change is inevitable. Even dead things rot, and return to dust. So the question for all of us is: are we changing for the better or for the worse? Do we have change in the form of decomposition or in the form of delightful anticipation (what the Bible calls “hope”)?

To be clear, it is important to note that I am not here talking about human motivation techniques or “self help” pump you up books, tapes and seminars. What I am talking about is a legitimate reason to have confidence because of something much more powerful that is in control than you or I can ever be alone, and something far greater than the humanistic human potential movement, or the empty hopes of Scientology, which essentially believe that all of life is an illusion and that actual pain does not really exist.

The Greek word “elpizo” is most often translated “hope.” Certainly this word in the English is terribly inadequate to drive home the greatness and fullness of the meaning found in the original language. Elpizo is a confident anticipation of the goodness, greatness and perfection of God’s plan for our lives. Christian hope is an “assurance” that Romans 8:28 is eternally correct: “all things work together for good, to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”

The rather strange thing about human life is that when things are going well we fear that they will change, and when things are not going so well we are fearful that they will never change. In reality, they will change regardless of where you are, and in either case can change for the better or the worse from the human vantage point. Where ever we find ourselves we must maintain our integrity in the midst of change.

The great confidence in knowing Christ is the assurance that He is in control and that He does ALWAYS have our very best interest at heart, even in those situations where OUR finite site and thought prohibit our knowledge of what genuinely is best. Yielding to His control will assure integrity in through the process of change.

Today, I visited with two friends, one in his home and the other in my office. Each of these men has been in nearly unbearable and constant pain for many years. There is something not quite completely definable about the character and spirit of these men. Each in his own way fascinates me, humbles me and confirms within me the truth that darkness never can over power the light and can only exist where we purposely restrict light. There is a light within each of these men that penetrates the darkness, overcomes discouragement and radiates confidence. That confidence is not in self, but in a powerful relationship that each has with the Lord. Neither of these men are satisfied with the status quo and each find the constant change of growing in Christ both rewarding and an essential part of their very special lives.

What ever else that God is doing in each of these men, it is evident that He is chiseling out examples of integrity and character that shine no matter how dark the circumstances. I am blessed each and every time I have the privilege to be in their presence and I am grown in my faith each time they share their very special wisdom with me. I thank God for their evident testimonies and for their glorious joy in the deepest valleys.

With all of that said, a short exposition of Romans 8:28 shows that God never said that all things work for the good. What He did say is that all things work TOGETHER for good, TO ALL THOSE that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (emphasis mine). Here is the confounding reality of this promise. We can have a series of events in our lives, none of which seem in our human experience to be “good,” and yet in the end all those events work “together” for good. When we see this happen, we can be confident that only the God of the Bible could take a series of genuine devastations which the enemy meant for evil and “make” them good (see the entire book of Job). He is truly an awesome God!