Is it Really True?
This past weekend two already-exhausted parents loaded up our car with camping gear, three kids, and an eighty-pound goldendoodle. Our silver Impala merged onto the interstate and left behind reality as we ventured towards the expanse of the national forest. There were no computers there to notify us of riots, no social media fights to wade through, and no police scanners to robotically repeat the new location of a fire. We sought rest.
Upon arriving, our excited kids suited up their backpacks. A bright orange dog with floppy ears safely held my three year old’s essentials tightly zipped. My husband and I finagled sleeping bags, tarps, and multiple water bottles onto our packs to the tune of “Can we start yet?”. Forty pounds for each of us. Thank goodness we told them only one stuffed animal.
The five of us headed out into the woods, and crossed small streams while our dog pulled ahead in excitement. About a quarter of a mile into a grassy section, my husband found some unexpected hitchhikers. Ticks covered us. They crawled up our pant legs, our arms, and onto our poor dog’s feet. The tiny poppy seeds seemed to jump right back on us as soon as we flicked them off into the brush.
The remainder of the hike was interrupted periodically by hunts under shirts and pants for the hateful little bugs. After three and a half miles, we set up camp for the night and sought refuge in our tent while we ate dinner. We slept, woke, and repeated the routine of the previous day until we reached our car.
Despite the threat of ticks, I found myself enchanted by the endless trees all around us. In some sense, I found the nightmare-ticks comical and fitting to the reality we are in these days. We had hoped for some kind of sanctuary, a place to get away from the sorrow, sin, and chaos surrounding us. Yet when we went into the woods, we only found more depravity and further evidence that the entire world is not as it should be.
It’s as if the curse of sin shouted- “Look! I’ve touched everything!” Because it has. The Westminster Confession says sin has corrupted all the “parts and faculties of our soul and body” and this unrelenting curse has seeped into creation.
Often I can focus too much on the depravity in the world. I name it- somehow hoping it will give me some form of control. I might sink further into the Bible’s history of reckless judges, the days of Noah, or perhaps look ahead to grim prophecies of the last days. Yet sometimes I dwell in the reality of evil. I forget that as much as depravity is real, hope in Christ is real. If these times of unrest can convince us of the presence of sin, should it also not root us further in the sure hope we have in our salvation from it? If the curse of the serpent is real, isn’t also the serpent crusher?
Of course we believe this, but honestly I find myself anxious and prone to forget it. I forget it in small circumstances as well as big. Running through my head these days, is the simple question, “Is it all really true?”
It’s a question that encourages me to think on what the words of Scripture say, not from doubt, but assurance. Because if the whole Bible is true, then that means that those in Christ have a sure and steadfast hope before us (Heb. 6:18). If it’s true it means that this hope is one that is not based on any circumstance, but on the unchanging nature of God, who swore by himself that he would secure the demands of the covenant for his people. If it’s true then it means he really won our salvation through Christ (Hebrews 6). If it’s true, then it means right now- in the midst of the confusion, sorrows, and grief of so many around- those who believe by faith are united to Christ. We have him now!
If it’s true it means that Christ’s church will never be destroyed, no matter who is in leadership or what kind of pandemic may occur (Matt. 16:18). If it’s really true, it means that the Holy Spirit will continue to sanctify us each day, no matter what those days bring (2 Cor. 3:18). If it’s true, then it means that he really can give grace for difficult conversations, self-control, and humility as we navigate polarity and seek to reconcile. If it’s true it means that we can boldly approach him with our prayers and worries, and he will hear us (1 Pet. 5:7).
If it’s true, then it means that our small persistent acts of loving our families and our neighbors during events that seem out of our control really do matter. If it’s true, then it means Christ’s death has taken death’s sting, and we have the greatest news to take to the world, and the surest foundation by which to love others.
Evil, injustice, and depravity surround us like parasites. But let’s broaden our gaze at God’s revelation- for it doesn’t end with evil. The breathtaking oaks of God’s promises stretch up to the heavens and surround us amidst the muck.
Are they really true?
Praise God, they are.