Reflections ... It is not over until it is over

Jais H. Tinglund

I welcome the warmer weather; I always do. The cold was getting to me, more than it used to; I suppose it has to do with me getting older.
As much as I welcome the warmer weather, I have, in recent years, learned not to assume that it is necessarily here to stay. I remember from years ago making declarations as to how glad I was that winter was finally over. Then the cold came back. After having declared springtime three times, I stopped declaring.
It is not over until it is over; and sometimes it is not even over when it is over. That is a lesson many of us have learned in life. We think that we have worked through whatever we had to work through; and then it turns out that some stone was left unturned after all, and something creeps out from underneath it.
Many of us have had to learn the hard way that it is not necessarily over just because it is over. In fact, all Christians have to learn that lesson, all through life.
We know, of course, that we are not done with sin in our hearts and minds; not to know that is to not be Christian. As the holy Apostle John writes, for if we say that we have no sin, not only are we deceiving ourselves, but the Truth is not in us at all. But when we think that we have definitively overcome this or that specific manifestation of sin with which we have struggled, which made it so difficult for us to be joyful in the faith, or we think that we have finally learned to rest in the faith, something happens in our lives, or in ourselves, or the Word of God makes us aware of something of which we were not aware, and we find ourselves back where we were before, and we are, once again, without any other assurance than the Word and promises of God.
That is not the worst place for us to be, though; for the one thing that is final is this: that as much as they might bother us in this life, all our sins and shortcomings are dealt with and done away with before the judgement of God, crucified and dead and buried with Christ, never to be raised again. This is His promise. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, as He has had His Apostle write it. And since He is the one who gives the promise, we know it, in faith, to be our reality, regardless of what we observe in our lives, and in our own hearts and minds. He will have us glorify His goodness by trusting in His goodness alone, in the obedience of faith. And so it is good and right for us to be trained in trusting in His goodness alone, and to be assured of our salvation only because of His promise and for no other reason whatsoever.

(Jais H. Tinglund is pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem.)