Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Constant

While our town becomes a city 
We won't let it be erased.
Empires rise, empires fall
Will you be my constant through it all?
- Jason Mraz, Quiet

In a constantly shifting world we fear change.
It uproots us from what we know, forces us to face the future, and removes our sense of grounding.
In cases of life disasters many people are emotionally devastated simply because they have lost their footing in life, having nothing to grasp amidst the chaos.

As humans, we must have a constant, an unchanging element to which we can grab hold, else we will not be able to withstand the certain battering and loss of footing experienced throughout life.

What are these constants though? 

In a scientific sense the constant can simply be a symbol, yet in the shared experience of life surely there are defined constants....

Most of us grab onto "little c" constants such as family, friends, our church. I'm sure we have all sought the company of a close friend after a rough day, or have called a parent or family member to vent.... These people, these constants, offer us some sort of safety - we know that we can count on them even when life is giving us lemons. 

What do you do though when your constant leaves you? Few things are as jarring as being abandoned by a person you thought you could rely on, or being cut off from those you love. We were not meant to live life alone, so when we find ourselves on shaky ground, a companion offers a sense of stability... Even if only temporarily.

The show LOST captured the desperation and beauty in the concept of "the constant" through the character Desmond. For him, his very life depended on having contact with the woman he loved, Penny. I've always been struck by the divine nature of their relationship, the way that she literally saved his life. To a degree this is analogous to the depth and importance of the constants we experience in our own lives.

I could write for hours about the "little c" constants , yet I find myself more and more dwelling on the "big C" Constant in our lives. This Constant is the difference between life and death, between hope and despair, between relationship and isolation. While constants in our lives are great and truly important, they are finite - unable in themselves to be a solid grounding. The "little c" constants get their purpose and power from the "big C" Constant only. 

So what is this Constant?

I refer to the person of Jesus.
Jesus Himself.

Not a picture of him created by the American church for the sole purpose of perpetuating guilt... But the God-man Himself. 

I have been struck by the image of power ascribed to Christ as written in Colossians 1:15-17. "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."

In Him all things hold together.

This statement carries with it confidence and power. There is a certainty in the person of Jesus that guarantees us that no matter what kind of circumstance is encountered, Christ himself has absolute control over them. With variables shifting wildly, the Constant remains untouched, unchanged, unmoved.

These attributes of the God-man are what give us our assurance of salvation.
We are secure because of who Jesus is. We are secure because of the unchanging nature of His LOVE.

Love is the spiritual bond more powerful than anything else on earth. A God-originated love cannot be destroyed and provides us with a heavenly identity and purpose. Romans 8 ends with the reminder that "I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (vs. 38-39).

Christ is our Constant because He is LOVE.

As a natural response, our "little c" constants are such because there is a reflection of this divine love within them. These constants are built on relationships, and the strongest ones are those which are most selfless and most Christlike.

The more you are surrounded with Christ's love, and little images of that love through the constants in our lives, the more we are able to endure despite the tumult. Surprise, surprise! Of course this would tie back into the idea of bearing one another's burdens.

Let's face it, we all need constants in our lives - but not because they in themselves are powerful. Rather, these constants reflect the image of the Constant and unchanging One. These constants provide us with stability through their love, because it is of a divine origin. The love experienced through our constants is unbreakable, unshakable, if it from God. 

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