She suffered adversity. At the age of only six weeks she lost her eyesight due to the application of a mustard poultice to her eyes by a doctor. Her father died soon afterward, but these tragedies did not affect her happy disposition. At the age of 8 she wrote,
Oh, what a happy soul am I,
Although I cannot see,
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy
That other people don’t!
To weep and sigh because I’m blind,
I cannot, and I won’t!
She married a blind musician, and their only child died in infancy. Later, her husband died. Notwithstanding these tragedies, Fanny Crosby applied her gift for rhyming and devoted most of her ninety-four years of life writing at least eight thousand hymns, following the practice of praying before each composition. Many of her hymns are autobiographical, and reflect a dimension of security unknown in today’s world.
A well-known psychiatrist was asked what he had found to be the basic problem troubling the majority of his patients. His reply was: “Insecurity.” But the lack of security in so many lives is spiritual in origin. We were created for companionship with God, and without Him we are alone and insecure. In Jesus Christ all of this can be changed. Not that the problems, pressures, and overwhelming circumstances of life will cease, but when Christ lives in our hearts we are not left to struggle alone. For the past there is forgiveness; for the present there is divine companionship; for the future there is absolute assurance. So what are the features of the security that Jesus promises?
I. WE ARE SECURE BY THE REDEEMING WORK OF JESUS
The salvation wrought out for us on the cross was complete. There is nothing we can do to add to its efficacy; there is nothing we can do to take away its sin-cleansing power. It is ours to be received as the free gift of God’s loving grace.
Our security is assured because we stand on an immovable Rock, even though our world is changing and uncertain. The apostle Paul informs us that man can lay no other foundation, for there is none, and this foundation is Jesus Christ. Relief for a drowning swimmer is the sudden discovery of a firm rock on which to stand. How much more wonderful it is for us who are surrounded by the difficulties of life, to realize suddenly that underneath there is One who never changes, and that around us are the everlasting arms.
A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord, . . .
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, . . .
A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
He taketh my burden away,
He holdeth me up, and I shall not be moved.
II. WE ARE SECURE BY THE COMFORT OF GOD’S PRESENCE
Confronted with problems, decisions to be made, buffeted by combinations of circumstances over which we have neither control nor solution, we need God’s presence, guidance, and help.
Paul says, “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28, ESV). But all things are not necessarily good in themselves. The good may be immediate or far off, but it is God’s good in God’s own time. This is illustrated in an old story, about the gravel walk and the mignonette:
“How fragrant you are this morning,” said the gravel walk.
“Yes,” said the mignonette, “I have been trodden upon and bruised, and it has brought forth all my sweetness.”
“But,” said the gravel walk, “I am trodden upon and every day, and I only grow harder.”
There are two characteristics of believers given here: one, their feelings toward God; the other, God’s feelings toward them. To those who love God, all things work together for good. It must be so, for love works no evil (Rom 13:10). And “for those who are called according to his purpose,” all things find some way, often unknown to us, of working together for our good. It must be so, for He of whom and through whom and to whom are all things (Rom 11:36) would never suffer His eternal purpose to be thwarted by anything really adverse to us. This is security!
Can I doubt His tender mercy, Who through life has been my guide? . . .
For I know what e’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.
III. WE ARE SECURE BY GOD’S SUSTAINING GRACE
The cause of Christ has suffered at the hands of those who seem to picture Christianity as a life of guaranteed prosperity and unending exemption from trouble. Absolutely not! When we commit ourselves to the living God through His Son, we are not carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease. We know we are not only tested by adversity, but there are times when our greatest witness for the faith finds expression out of the troubles and sorrows through which we are called to pass. In all these things we can rest secure in the grace, which God unfailingly supplies to those who are His own.
God hath not promised skies always blue, . . .
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way, . . .
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
IV. WE ARE SECURE IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD’S LOVE
The great characteristic of God is an undefeatable goodwill and an unconquerable benevolence to all men, good and bad alike. When Jesus died upon the cross He was saying, “Nothing that men can ever do to God will stop God loving them. There is no limit to the love of God. There is no end beyond which love will not go and no sin which my love cannot forgive. God loves you like that.” It is that undefeatable love that those who seek to be the children of God must reproduce in their lives (Matt 5:43–48). To fail to do so is to fall short of the perfection God requires, and so is to sin. Sin is the absence of love.
The assurance of God’s unconditional love has not only therapeutic value to the one who accepts it, but with it an abiding sense of security that no demon can disturb.
O love of God, our shield and stay
Through all the perils of our way!
Eternal love, in Thee we rest,
Forever safe, forever blest.
A bricklayer fell from a high scaffold and was lying fatally wounded. A minister approached and pled, “My dear friend, I’m afraid you are dying. I urge you to make your peace with God at once.” “Make my peace with God!” exclaimed the injured man. “Why, that was made two thousand years ago when my Savior died. Christ is my peace, and has been ever since I knew Him.”
At the center of our security is the Christ of Calvary. In and through Him, the lost have redemption, the lonely have the comfort of God’s presence and guidance, the weak the strength of God’s grace, and the weary the rest and peace that comes from the assurance of God’s unconquerable love.