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15th January: Certainty

... that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. Luke 1:4

There is nothing more certain in life that its uncertainty, and medicine is not exempt. No matter what we think may happen today, there is no guarantee that it will. The issues of the day are by no means solely in our hands. Other people and other events play their part. We may even be facing a specific choice with far-reaching consequences and find ourselves in a dilemma of indecision.

Professionally we are trained to pause and ponder. While we may diagnose thyrotoxicosis on the basis of a formula, we still face the patient with unique reactions and needs. No two patients are alike, and few `keep to the book'. Supposedly precise laboratory tests can have startling standard deviations, and diagnosis or treatment often has to be tentative and empirical.

The basis of Luke's good news, however, is that there are some things of which we may be sure. God is a certainty -- not as a vague concept, but as a Person. Luke's evidence was provided by eye witnesses (v2), his story is irrefutable history, the birth of Jesus Christ in the days of Herod the king (v5).

The house owner may feel pride as he sees the title deeds of his property, even if it be but a fleeting glimpse before they reside with the Building Society! Luke's Gospel forms the title deeds of the Christian faith, and these we can retain for ourselves.

Dr Luke should appeal to the scientifically minded. He was a research worker: `having investigated from their source all things accurately' (v3), he proceeded to `write them up' (vv1,3). He then left it to the reader to assess the reliability of the record. This certainty is not an abstraction but can be verified in an intensely personal way. The onus is on the reader and the responsibility is his.

`Choice is one of the root ideas in the word "believe", and this element of responsibility and commitment is the key to "the obedience of faith" which is the heart of Christian discipleship!' (Os Guinness).

Lord, it is easy to believe my doubts, and doubt my beliefs.
I am tempted to trust only the things I can see and handle,
yet your word says that these are temporary, whereas the
things I cannot see are eternal. Grant that I may be so
certain of your unchanging faithfulness that I may not fear
the uncertainties of life.

Further reading: Ps 46. Jn 20:30,31. Eph 1:15-23.

DEBP

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