A prominent civil servant declares that we live in a “post truth” world. I agree. Fortunately, I grew up in a time when truth mattered. There were no “alternative facts.” The truth was the truth; my parents, the church and my culture reinforced it.
The following statements are the foundation of my belief in truth: “If you continue in my word, then you are truly disciples of mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32, NASB). “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me” (John 10:27, NIV).
The truth that I know rests in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone. His truth guides my decisions and choices, my actions and attitudes; yes, I fail, but the truth of forgiveness is a promise I do not take lightly.
Television talk show host Joy Behar, referring to Vice President Mike Pence’s belief that God speaks to him, characterized him as a person with mental illness (she later issued a sincere public apology and VP Pence forgave her). God speaks to me through his word – the Bible – through other people, through the world he created and through books that I read. I do not doubt his voice. I guess you could say I am a sheep, a member of the flock.
During a recent transitional time, God spoke to me through an anthem and through a blessing written specifically for graduates. He affirmed that my choices were part of his plan; I rest in his reassurance.
From “The Prayer,” typically sung at weddings, the shepherd spoke to me.
“I pray you’ll be our eyes and watch us where we go; and help us to be wise in times when we don’t know. Let this be our prayer when we lose our way; lead us to a place, guide us with your grace to a place where we’ll be safe.
“I pray we’ll find your light and hold it in our hearts; when stars go out each night, remind us where you are. Let this be our prayer; just like every child needs to find a place, guide us with your grace; give us faith so we’ll be safe.”
This is truth. Wherever I go, wherever I am, I am forever dependent on God’s grace to guide, sustain and protect me. He is greater than any difficulty I may encounter, any change that may challenge me – and he is my light, he is present, he is gracious. This truth matters.
Then, in a blessing for graduates leaving one thing behind and moving toward another:
“Life is a continuous parade of beginnings and endings and new beginnings. Each ending is a fulfillment and each beginning a possibility. We thank God for the joys and accomplishments of the past and for the satisfaction of work completed. Every ending, with its pain and separation, is a kind of death. But the gospel of Jesus Christ knows of resurrection, which is the possibility of every new beginning.
“We thank God for new beginnings and the possibility for new relationships and new challenges. Grasp your own life as a God-given possibility that is not yet complete, and in the midst of every ending and every new beginning, be open to the surprise that will continually flood into your life. We thank God for the faith and courage that help us to live our lives without fear.”
Sadly, today’s culture increasingly attacks foundational truth. The truth is that I hear the shepherd.