Some things should be held loosely.
The stuff that comes through our hands, the relationships that come in and out of our lives, the things we think are probably the way things are but we’re not entirely sure… all are things that we should hold loosely.
Some things should be held very firmly.
I think that often we mix things up and hold very tightly some of the things we want to last a forever when they are, by their very nature, temporary.
We cling to our stuff as though we could somehow make life secure. We hold tight to relationships that are choked by the lack of real freedom to live and love. We have a vise grip on our perspectives on truth instead of the truth itself.
When Paul was relating in 1 Thessalonians 3 how he and his partners were so burdened with concern for their loved ones there, he gives expression to what really does need to be held tightly.
The missionary team compelled young Timothy to return to assay the general well-being and spiritual condition of the church:
“Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, that no one be moved by these affliction. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this.”
Notice the charge Timothy was given, “to establish and exhort you in your faith.” His responsibility was to bring clarity that would establish their faith and to teach and encourage them to continue to grow in that faith.
So Paul sent Timothy to shore up any parts of their faith walk that had been blown or rattled loose by the rough roads of persecution and the winds of hardship. Stuff comes loose sometimes. Things get knocked out of place.
But he identifies his desire for these young-in-their-faith believers—“that no one be moved by these afflictions.” His desire was that their faith would not be blown around and pulled loose. He wanted their faith to be immovable.
He gently reminds them that this is indeed the ultimate objective and the absolute sure conclusion, “For you yourselves know that we are destined for this.” Their faith, beaten and frayed here and there like an old blue tarp tied over a load in the back of a truck, may be battered and torn and faded, but it will endure.
As with those Thessalonians believers, God is moving us to an immovable faith, utterly confident in Who He is. It’s not necessarily about understanding or knowledge. It’s not really wisdom.
But this immovable faith is an absolute confidence in the character of God to fulfill his promises, to do what He said He would do, to be Who He claims to be. It is an unflinching conviction that, no matter how life beats us up or throws us around, our ultimate security is anchored in the very power that put the world in motion, that caused all that is to be.
You know, when you cinch down the ropes or straps holding down that old blue tarp, you still go around at every stop on the journey and take in the slack in the ropes… until there’s just not any more, until it just won’t move.
God will move our faith to the immovable one to which He has called and destined us.
Father, in all the blowing and bouncing and tossing of life, so much seems to be frayed and ragged in my life. Keep moving me toward that immovable faith, Lord—for my good and for Your great glory.