“I’m not worried. It’s going to be okay. We’re going to be okay.”
It seems like I have been saying that a lot over the past several weeks. First there were the elections–a cause for joy to some and concern to others. Added to this, recently Caterpillar announced that they were moving their international headquarters from Peoria, where I live, to Chicago. Their decision has far reaching consequences to Peoria. The announcement stunned the community and its civic leaders.Despite promises of maintaining a footprint in Peoria and comforting words, there is a feeling of distrust and uncertainty. Members of the congregation that I serve will be moving to the new corporate offices.
Still, I can say, “I’m not worried. It’s going to be okay. We’re going to be okay. Things will be different, but we will be okay.” Many wonder how I can make that statement with such surety. I can say it because I am a Christian. I worship a Lord who was crucified, dead and buried. I worship a Lord who rose from the dead on the third day and ascended into heaven where he now sits on the right hand of God. I can say it because I believe that you and I live under God’s Providential Care.
When I say that things are going to be okay that does NOT mean that things will be the same as always or that things will go back to “normal.” We will learn to live with a “new” normal. When you think about it, life is about new normals.
We belong not to ourselves but to God. Just as God led the biblical Israelites through the wildness for 40 years until a new generation reached the Promised Land, so God will lead us. Just as God was with the Exiles in Babylon, so God is with us in our times of exile. Just as God was with the faithful who returned to the City of David and saw for the first time Jerusalem’s devastation, so God is with us as we rebuild from the ruins of our lives.
When we get bad news or have a dream crushed by reality, it is going to be okay. It is going to be okay because God loves us. We are sojourners here. In the words of the old hymn, “God is working out his purposes.”
I don’t pretend to know how those purposes are being worked out, and when I am my “best” self, I can step back and say, “God, I don’t know what in the world you are doing, or how this is going to work out, but I know that You’re here somewhere. And because You are here with me, it is going to be okay.”
So, it is going to be okay. Okay does not mean that it won’t be hard. AND it certainly doesn’t mean that God caused the current situation. But, nevertheless, it is going to be okay. Do you know why? Because You and I do not belong to ourselves. We have been purchased with a price. We belong to Another. We belong to God. And, God loves us. Therein lies our glimpse of grace.