Is anyone else finding it hard to know what we can know for sure? Perhaps it is the explosion of ways to gain information that is making certainty uncertain. Who’s telling the truth? Who actually has the truth to tell? And who can be trusted not to shave the unlikeable edges off the truth?
Or maybe it is the vast number of broken promises and failed assessments that make it hard to trust the myriad assertions being thrown around today. As I see it, things aren’t going well in too many areas of life. But, apparently there is no agreement on the why, how, or who we should look to for getting them back on track.
Or maybe we’re just suffering from a national malaise that is really the stuff of “long COVID” given the fact that almost all of what was proclaimed as certain during the pandemic has turned out to be anything but.
If you’re like me, you’d just like to have a good dose of reality, or certainty. You know, a simple list of what you can know and count on for sure. So, as your humble servant columnist, I am here to rescue you from the puddle of muddle by stating things we all can know for sure.
First, I am sure the sun will come up tomorrow, and it isn’t just because a cute little girl named Annie sang it so. I have history on my side. What I mean is that, regardless of what ups and downs come our way – and right now it seems the downs are downright winning! – I know tomorrow will come with a set of new challenges and chances. This also means that each day is a gift, wrapped in a unique set of 24 hours that we will never encounter in exactly the same way again. We simply must take tomorrow by the lapels and make it useful, beneficial and excellent. So when tomorrow gets here, remember, as someone somewhere once said, “Yesterday was a canceled check, and tomorrow is a promissory note. Today is cash … spend it wisely.”
Second, I am sure that the greatest things in life are loving and being loved. Yep, you can take that to the bank, or to dinner. Your choice. At the foundation of every life is a desire to be loved, to be recognized, to be valued and cared for, and provided for and protected. To be loved is the most essential need we have as humans and yet, you won’t find it represented in our genetic code. The desire – in fact the need – to be loved can’t be accounted for by purely naturalistic, chemical processes but it is real and vital just the same.
But just as necessary is the need to love. History proves it in every generation. A key component in being human is the desire to pour out our love on someone else. We long for it, and are capable of loving with consistency and intensity even if that love is unrequited. Amazing. Just as certain as is sunrise tomorrow is the unquenchable need we have to love and be loved.
Third, I am sure when the sun comes up tomorrow, we’ll all be a day older. That’s just another way of saying I am sure time will keep going, keep marching on, with all the consequences its march will bring. And you can count on time bringing change, and change bringing new challenges, successes, disappointments, and tragedies.
Lastly, I am also sure that, despite my best intentions, I too often fail to live up to my own best standards, let alone the standards of the God who has created me, loves me, and has provided me with so much in this life. And, for me, that means I feel a daily accountability to be better, take advantage of both what is left of today, and what can be done with tomorrow. It means as well that I have a model of what it means to love, because God has always been demonstrated in great sacrifice. It also means I know how wonderful it is to be loved, as his love for me is mediated through my wonderful wife, family and friends. So, as the grains of my life’s hourglass continue to fall, I know this for sure. With all the sadness, brokenness, uncertainty and tragedy this world continues to produce, I’m actually wonderfully blessed, and I intend to live like it!
What I know for sure makes me remember that my life is good despite the world around me. I only hope what you know for sure brings you life and peace, certainty and gladness, both love and satisfaction, and most of all, the hope-driven energy to make the most of today, and – should God provide it – all that makes up tomorrow.
Local resident David Hegg is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church. “Ethically Speaking” appears Sundays.