When something you discovered twenty years ago can still overpower you with tsunami-strength, you know you’ve found one of the truest things you know.
Truth varies depending on its degree of impact. Two plus two will always equal four, but such truth does not lift my heart or draw me closer to Jesus. Jeremiah warned us, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” which is certainly true but it doesn’t move me to worship or action. Some truth is practical: my father taught me: “Never play cards with a man named Slick.” It has saved me tens of thousands of dollars, but it’s hardly a life-mantra.
God’s truth, like his creation, is infinitely-faceted. It fills the universe and moves the hearts of men and women. While I am not moved by the structure of numbers, the mathematician extends his arms in worship for God’s order, majesty, and wisdom. The Father has made all things beautiful in their time. I believe he has also made each of us individually to marvel at certain aspects of his revelation. If we discover just one breath-taking aspect of his truth for each decade we live, we will go to the grave with as much wonder and worship as a child who has first discovered mother-love.
I still have some decades to go, but I’d like to share five of the truest things I know. The kind of things that can still cause my heart to skip a beat, like the first time I saw my wife.
Thankfulness is the doorway to God’s presence. Eugene Peterson says “Thank You” is the password to God’s presence. G.K. Chesterton became a believer by recognizing impossibility of feeling thankfulness apart from having Someone to thank. I have been a father for twenty-five years: when one of my children expresses gratitude, my heart leaps inwardly--not because it strokes my ego but because I know it is the key their advancement in the Spirit. Thankfulness opens the way. Won't you come in?
Worship and sanity walk together. You should come, too. For some people the 30-45 minutes of praise and worship on Sunday mornings is the only time of the week in which they are in their right mind. Music is song-voice of mathematics. Lyrics focused on Jesus is the true end of language. That our mouths and ears can be simultaneously focused on him is to surround ourselves with truth.We needn’t wait until Sunday: some people are wise enough to worship at every free moment of the week. They are saturated in adoration. They are the sober ones in a world drunk on selfishness.
The gospel is “the gospel of the Kingdom of God.” I’m grateful for my Evangelical roots, but I’ve discovered that the gospel of go-to-heaven-when-you-die differs radically from the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Isaiah saw the Kingdom as a present reality. John the Baptist proclaimed the Kingdom. Jesus did the same. The story of the early church opens and closes with the Kingdom of God. The irrepressible E. Stanley Jones declared the secret of the universe is the Unshakable Kingdom and the Unchanging Person. I am following the trail Dr. Jones left behind. You should come, too.
God created time for our benefit. This is the most recent discovery for me: life is daily because the Creator set it up that way. The creation-song of Genesis repeats the chorus over and over: “there was evening, and there was morning, another day.” Do not set these lyrics aside a no-brainer. It is the revelation of God’s wisdom for his children: we cannot live in the past, the future is beyond our understanding, we were made to live in the moment--with Him.
Forgiveness is perhaps the most essential life skill. “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” St. Augustine’s counsel is still wise today. Jesus not only forgave the sins the world, he modeled forgiveness so that we should do the same. Who could disagree? The challenge is in the doing. “Every one says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.” Forgiveness contains so many other truths: we are sinful people; we live in a sinful world; sin hurts us all. Yet the One wounded most by sin is the One who demonstrated the only way through: Forgive.
In fifty-plus years I have a handful of the truest things I know. Perhaps, by the grace of God, I will end up with two hands full.
What about you? What has found its way into your hand? Why not leave a comment and share the truest things you know.