In this world, things change rapidly. I thought about that again last weekend when I learned that Dwayne Haskins, 24-year-old quarterback for the Pittsburg Steelers, was fatally struck by a dump truck as he tried to cross an interstate on foot in Fort Lauderdale, Florida over the weekend. Without knowing many of the details, one thing is abundantly clear: very little is guaranteed in this life.
Imagine the life of Ukrainian citizens at this moment. Just a few months ago, they were waking up and going to school or work every Monday just like us. They were celebrating birthdays and getting together with friends for dinner, planning vacations and taking their kids to soccer practice. Now, their country is devastated. Millions have become refugees. Those who have stayed are under constant threat of bombs and invasions. Many have witnessed atrocities firsthand, and many more have not survived the atrocities. Very little is guaranteed in this life.
I’ve received three phone calls in my life that have turned my world upside down. In 2014, I received a late-night call that my mother had been killed. Completely out of nowhere, my mom was gone without even a goodbye. I still miss her, and I always will.
A few years later, I received a phone call that my dad had passed away after heart surgery. Filled with emotion, I got in my car and started driving to Alabama to be with my family. Before I got out of the city, however, my phone rang again. It was my dad. The hospital had made a mistake. They had told the wrong family. My dad was recovering well from his surgery, and he’s doing just fine today.
Those experiences have permanently impacted the way I answer phone calls. If my phone rings at a weird time, I automatically expect it to be bad news. I don’t know if that will ever change. I’ve learned the hard way that very little is guaranteed in this life. Perhaps you’ve learned that lesson, too.
During times of uncertainty, human beings usually look for guarantees. We yearn for stability. We long to have something rock solid to build our lives upon. Surely there must be something out there that doesn’t change, that’s permanent. There must be something that won’t be taken from us.
But as we run through the list of possibilities, we discover quickly that nothing qualifies. The ones we love the most might not be here tomorrow. The career can collapse overnight. Political freedom and societal stability are not guaranteed. Just ask Ukrainians. Everything is up for grabs. Nothing is safe.
The apostle Paul lived with an awareness of instability. Always under threat of persecution and enduring great suffering, he labored to share Christ’s love with the nations. In one memorable passage, he catalogued his life’s instability (2 Corinthians 11:23-29). His list included imprisonments, beatings, shipwrecks, robberies, hunger and thirst, and even rejection by those closest to him. I don’t think Paul would have had issues admitting that very little is guaranteed in this life.
And yet, Paul lived with incredible joy and hope. He found stability that provided ballast for his life even in the hard times. Paul had concluded that one thing and only one thing was guaranteed: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
And how do we know that God is for us? “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Romans 8:34). And if Jesus died and was raised for us, how does that change our mindset? “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present not things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
The resurrection of Jesus changes everything. It doesn’t guarantee us a trouble-free life, but it guarantees something so much better: trouble and turmoil do not win. Death does not have the last word. Because Jesus defeated death through his resurrection, those who are in Christ can live with assurance and stability. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Do you want to find stability this Easter? Find it in the only place its available. Find it in Christ.