There are a lot of things that cannot be guaranteed.
Will I live a long, healthy life?
Will I make a lot of money?
Will my candidate be elected?
Will I find the love of my life?
Will I get that dream job?
Will I be labeled “successful” by my peers and family?
I can’t guarantee those things for you.
You can’t guarantee those things for you.
No one can guarantee those things for you.
God doesn’t guarantee those things for you.
There are 4 things God guarantees for us, everyday, if we embrace them.
They do not depend on the right circumstances, the right candidates or the right economy.
They are secure and cannot be taken away.
The first guarantee that cannot be taken away is…
…the GIFT of being uniquely created
Viktor E. Frankl wrote this while in a Nazi concentration camp, “Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.”
Everyday you can wake up and know that God uniquely made you for something greater than yourself.
You cannot be replaced. You are deeply needed.
You have unique strengths and talents that God has planned from the beginning of time to be used to bring hope and healing to this broken world.
No circumstances can take this GIFT away from you.
Everyday you wake up and look in the mirror, remind yourself that you are one of a kind, and God wants to use your talents, passions and experiences to make this world a better place.
Everyday you can live with the GIFT, hope and confidence that you are not an accident and you were created for this moment and this time in history to do something great.
Do not play it small. Do not wonder why you are here.
You are here on purpose. You are one of a kind.
Embrace this gift!
The second guarantee that cannot be taken away is…
…the JOY of forgiveness
There is nothing more paralyzing than the regret, pain and grief of past mistakes and sins.
Our self esteem plummets as we live with the consequences of what our past transgressions have brought to us.
Depression, addictions and other destructive behaviors try to mask the pain of our past.
Yet…you are no different than anyone else in the room.
You are no better or worse than the people to your left or to your right.
You are not a better or worse sinner than the people in your neighborhood.
You do not have the “corner market” when it comes to irreversible sins.
God sent his son Jesus to die for the sins of the world, and you are not an exception to the rule.
God is bigger than your sin.
God’s love for you is greater than your regret.
When we come to God with our grief, he is there to replace it with his forgiveness and that is a JOY we can embrace and live with everyday and nothing can take that away.
Someone once said, “After grief for sin there should be joy for forgiveness.”
C.S. Lewis said, “I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.”
Knowing we are forgiven by God is the biggest step towards mental health.
Forgiveness is the greatest need for the human race.
The third guarantee that cannot be taken away is…
…the OPPORTUNITIES of today
Bill Keane said something deeply profound when he wrote, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”
We are often so consumed by the regrets of the past or the worries of tomorrow that we miss the OPPORTUNITIES of today.
Scriptures remind us over and over that, “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
They remind us to, “Remember how short our lives are so we should treasure and live each day wisely.”
They remind us that everyday, “God’s mercy, grace and power is offered to us, to do His will, to be His light.”
Everyday that we wake up and have breath is an opportunity to experience the abundant life God has offered to us.
Everyday is an opportunity to grow, learn, celebrate, laugh, cry, serve and love a world that desperately needs it.
“For God so loved the world…”, and it changed everything!
When we use every opportunity to “love the world…”, it changes everything, mostly ourselves.
Paulo Coelho, author of the powerful book “The Alchemist” wrote, “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
The fourth guarantee that cannot be taken away is…
…the PROMISE of tomorrow
We can live fearlessly everyday, embracing our uniqueness, celebrating our forgiveness and boldly loving in difficult places because of God’s promise of the future.
The Apostle Paul showed us that “No eye has seen, or mind can comprehend what God is preparing for those who love Him.”
He also reminds us that, “Nothing can separate us from God’s love.”
The Apostle John saw that we can live with the security that one day, “There will be no more disease, sorrow, pain, tears, abuse or regret.”
Jesus taught us that as we celebrate our uniqueness, are born again by forgiveness and love the least of these, that we are investing our lives in things that will last forever.
As we live in a fragile, painful world that does not have a lot of guarantees, the scriptures teach us that as we grieve because of disease, war, abuse and broken promises, that we should grieve with a powerful hope that has been promised to us from the beginning of time, that in the words of Pablo Neruda, “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”
Everyday we can offer our uniqueness, be freed from our sins, be energized by our daily purpose and can walk around with a silly grin, not because all things are well, but because…”it may be dark in the night, but joy comes in the morning!”
Each generation seems to boastfully declare they are the last one before God makes all things right.
I do not know the answer to that one.
When asked that question, Jesus said he didn’t know the answer either.
Because we do not know, our job is to know what is guaranteed in this life and to pass it on to the next generation.
That is our job. This is our opportunity.
Let’s make sure the children around us and children around the world know that there are 4 things that are guaranteed and cannot be taken away.
The GIFT of being uniquely made.
The JOY of forgiveness.
The OPPORTUNITIES of today.
The PROMISE of tomorrow.
Carl Sandburg once said, “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” I couldn’t agree more!