Life’s Certainties

I took Ada and Arli for a walk to the beach yesterday and yes, it was bound to happen. The sun was out, but a cold breeze was blowing and the water was very chilly. But here is one of life’s great certainties – if Arli is anywhere near water he will get wet – and usually I won’t have remembered a towel!

It’s always the same. “Dad can I put my feet in?” And you know how the episode plays out. In no time, Arli is down to his undies and jumping in the water. He’s running, he’s laughing, he’s screaming, he’s full of joy! And at least yesterday he kept his undies on.

We visited Echuca recently and before Megan and I knew it Arli was fully undressed and running starkers into the Murray, much to the amusement of some passers-by.

As Arli jumped the waves yesterday I was thinking about some of life’s certainties.

“Tis impossible to be sure of anything but death and taxes,” wrote Christopher Bullock in 1716, later quoted by Benjamin Franklin.

But we could add many more things to a certainties’ list.

For example, I’m away at the Crossway Youth Camp this week and my kids were asking at breakfast why was the toast cold and soggy …. “welcome to camp food kids” … one of life’s great certainties. And last night a few of the leaders were called out to attend to a few young campers trying to stretch the curfew. Fancy that, welcome to one of life’s great certainties.

I was recalling with a few of the leaders last night about a unique camp strategy adopted by one of my youth group leaders back in the early 1980s. She would wait until we were in our dorm and then scatter pebbles outside our door. She would then sit back and wait for the “ouch” as we sought to sneak out the door.

On camp this week I have lost my drink bottle on a number of occasions. My team know that’s one of life’s great certainties. Yes, I travelled successfully around Europe with it, but I have lost it a few times since coming back, along with my coffee keep cup. Yesterday I was at the shops and I forgot where I parked … another one of life’s certainties in my book. I can remember what appointments I have in a month’s time, but as Megan well knows, finding my wallet or keys is a regular challenge. I am very encouraged when I hear from other men who are similarly challenged – I am not alone!

My Dad over-cooking a BBQ or complaining about a meal at a restaurant – one of life’s great certainties. My wife saying she is cold in winter, even when the house is well beyond toasty and the rest of the household are in shorts and T shirts – yes, that’s a definite at our place.

Long distance driving with my kids and knowing one of the three will be sick at the most inopportune moment. Talking travel, delays on Jetstar certainly makes my list of certainties.

Visit South Melbourne Market and buy one of the famous pork dim sims and you have to go back for more! Seeing chorizo on special at the deli, a must buy. Beetroot and pineapple topping off a hamburger, me ordering oysters if they are on a menu!

Post something political on FB and wait for the barrage.  You know it’s coming. The Coalition accusing the ABC of political bias. Senseless tweets from Donald Trump. Sadly, asylum seekers, particularly those that seek refuge by boat, being cast as dangerous illegals and used for cheap political point scoring.

Nick Kyrgios drawing more attention to himself than his tennis ability and an NRL player in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. One of the favourite’s crashing early in the Tour de France, commencing this Saturday night – seems another life certainty. Yes, here we go, bring on the late nights with Gabriel Gate’s entrée, before the peloton main course. Go Richie!

The reality is that there seem to many certainties all around us –  even in a world that seems so uncertain at times.

We live in a world of change – that’s a certainty. Change is our constant companion and we all need to learn to navigate seasons of change to make the most out of life. Leaders today need to be effective and skilled change agents. We need to help others on the change journey.

My mother used to always remind me as a child that there are always people in life in a worst position than me. The older you get, the clearer this becomes, as does the benefit of living life with a perspective lens.

In such a world we can be certain that there are people all around us yearning for a listening ear, a helping hand, acts of practical kindness. – people yearning for belonging, acceptance and hope. Just look around today and we will see opportunities to serve and make a practical difference in the lives of others in tough places.

Sadly, we could add injustice to our list. This side of “a new heaven and earth” the Bible highlights we live in a beautiful, but broken world. We live a world that isn’t fair. And our response? We are called to live justly – we are challenged to look beyond our ourselves – we are called to be open to disturbance and inconvenience – as we stand with those on the edges of our community, as we stand against injustice and become a voice for the voiceless.

As Arli ran in and out of the waves yesterday he couldn’t wipe the smile off his face. It was a picture of simple joy.

As I watched him and thanked God for him and Ada, playing beside me, I was struck again by life’s greatest certainty – God’s love and faithfulness.

As the waves rolled in, I was reminded of a God whose faithfulness is new every morning. I was thankful for a God’s whose love is immense and unconditional; a God who never gives up on us; a God who fills us with lasting and life-transforming hope. And more, I was reminded of a God who esteems you and I with the privilege of serving him. This call to serve fills my life with meaning and purpose. It beckons me to join God in a broken world as the hands and feet of Jesus.

And here’s one last certainty – whatever we face today – we are not alone – we have a God ready and available to journey with us, who can sustain us and carry us – a God with us on the mountaintop and the deepest, darkest valleys.

Have a great day! 

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