One of my favorite high school teachers had a saying that has stuck in my mind all these years, “There are two things you can count on in this life – death and taxes!” I didn’t say it was an uplifting statement, just that it stuck with me. Of course she was kidding, but there was an element of truth in her jest.
Anyone who has lived more than a few years has learned that many things we put our trust in can fail, and disappoint us: friends, finances, health, even family. And the more disappointments a person has had, the harder it becomes to trust anything. My teacher was expressing a sad reality for lots of folks, that the only thing they can count on for sure is disappointment. If that was all there is to this life we would be miserable creatures indeed.
But I am so glad that is not the end of the story. The wonderful news is that there is a solid foundation of truth in the Word of God that changes everything. The Bible tells us that God loves us and wants what is best for us; that we can trust Him to care for us, to guide us in the right ways, and to give our lives purpose and meaning. And that is the issue with a lot of people: Trust; the faith to believe what the Bible says about God is true. But when a tiny mustard seed of faith is planted into a doubting heart trust begins to grow, and God begins to show Himself to be faithful and trustworthy. In fact James 1:17 says this about how trustworthy He is: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
When we know that God’s word is true, we can trust Him, that He knows what is best for us. One question then remains for us, “What am I going to do about it?” Since I know He loves me, I can rest assured that the things the Bible says I should and shouldn’t do are there for my good. A child is told not to touch the hot stove because it is wise not to, it will hurt. It is not just a rule trying to keep him from having fun. That is exactly how it is with the word of God, the instructions it contains are for my good. As I learn to trust in His consistent goodness and love, obeying His word and His leading becomes a joy and not a chore.
Psalm 15 says: Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends. Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the LORD, and keep their promises even when it hurts…Such people will stand firm forever. He wants us to be people of integrity.
There is so little that folks can rely on in our world. When we commit to live in obedience to God’s word, He begins to change us from the inside out, making us more like Jesus. Our lives will reflect the integrity that flows from our loving God. And though the people in your life can still count on death and taxes, they will know that you trust your God, and they can count on you. And that gives Him Glory.