Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations He has brought on the earth. 9He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; He burns the shields with fire. (Psalm 46:8-9, NRSV)
With the novel coronavirus pandemic, we worry about what might happen to our families and friends, our workplaces and churches, our cities and countries. We fear the desolations that might come as this virus continues to wreak havoc in our world.
In Psalm 46, God visits desolations on the earth, desolations of a most astounding and shocking kind. God’s desolations fill us, not with fear, but with hope. The first two verses of Psalm 46 state, “God is our refuge and strength . . . . Therefore we will not fear.” This beloved psalm has so much to say to us in this historic calamity we are facing together. It speaks to all of us at work, church, community, and family.
Psalm 46:8 invites us: “Come, behold the works of the LORD; see what desolations He has brought on the earth.” We are to examine, not just God’s works, but also His desolations. This sounds rather unsettling, doesn’t it? We’d rather focus on God’s healings and blessings, not on His desolations. What do these desolations include? Perhaps God’s judgments on those who disobey Him? His punishments for sin? A giant flood? Or . . . ?
The Hebrew word translated as “desolation” can mean “waste, desolation, horrific or atrocious event.” In Isaiah 64:10, we read: “Your holy cities have become a wilderness, Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.” Jeremiah 5:30 uses the word with emphasis on how it makes us feel to see such devastation, “An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land.” So talk of God’s desolations rightly makes us distressed, at first. We might even be horrified.
But as we continue on in Psalm 46 to see just what devastations the psalmist has in mind: “[The LORD] makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; He burns the shields with fire” (v. 9). The things that usually bring devastation to the earth – war and its weapons – are the things devastated by the hand of God. We might say that God desolates the desolations. God destroys destruction and wages war on warfare, thus bringing God’s true peace to the whole earth.
Behind Psalm 46 lies a vision of God’s coming kingdom, a day when peace and justice will fill the earth (for example, see Isaiah 9:7). In that day, human violence will cease. Under God’s reign, people “shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks” (Isaiah 2:4). Deathly weapons will become tools for life-promoting food production. Moreover, human beings will be healed of “all” our diseases (Psalm 103:3). As we read in the prophet Malachi, “But for you who revere My Name, the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall” (Malachi 4:2).
Thus, Psalm 46 reminds us that disease, including COVID-19, is not what God ultimately intends for our world. The future peace of God includes both health and flourishing. We should at all times be strengthened and moved by a vision of God’s kingdom. During a crisis, we need this vision even more than usual because it’s so easy to become focused only on our challenges, disappointments, griefs, and fears. We can lose sight of what God is doing and will do in the world. Yet, when we keep this vision in mind and heart, when it animates our lives, then we’ll be able to act both wisely and resiliently.
Psalm 46 also reminds us that God is at work in the world right now. We can behold God’s work – including His ironic desolations – not only in our vision of the future, but also in our current reality. In fact, God often uses what we perceive in the moment as desolations to advance His Kingdom. In this time of history, it’s hard to know exactly how God will use our current pandemic for good. Yet, we can be confident that the God who is with us now is also at work in us, through us, and around us. We hold tightly to the promise found in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (NIV). “In all things” God is at work for good. With this confidence we live, trusting that God is at work in us for His purposes and glory. As we read in Philippians, “For it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
I want to invite you to behold God’s works this week. What do you see?
Think of a time God was at work in your life in hard and difficult things. Can you think of a time or two when God worked redemptively in a situation that seemed to be hopeless?
How might the vision of God’s peaceful kingdom make a difference in your life right now?
As you think of God’s working in your life, thank Him for His love, grace and goodness. May those memories give you confidence in God’s sovereignty today.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10)
Growing up in church, people would talk about the importance of having a “life verse.” A life verse is some passage from the Bible which seizes your imagination and spiritual life and, in some way, becomes a mission statement and guide verse on your road of discipleship.
When I was younger, I remember a season of a very dark night of the soul, a time in my life when I felt very much not-chosen, not-royal, and not-holy. Into that time, a wise friend shared with me this scripture, and it spoke into my heart in just the right way, bringing healing and a renewed sense of calling. It became my “life verse” for that season.
Peter is encouraging his readers to keep making progress along the discipleship journey – to leave behind malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander and crave the “pure, spiritual milk” given to babies to help them grow (1 Pet. 2:1-2). The author goes on to explain where this will lead:
As you come to Him, the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to Him – 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5).
Throughout 1 Peter 2, Peter uses OT prophetic passages which were addressed to God’s chosen people as a whole (1 Peter 2:10 is a very direct echo of God’s words to His people in Hosea 2:23). Peter’s calling in this passage is a calling for all disciples. No matter who we are, when we follow Jesus, we are chosen and precious in His sight and we are called to proclaim His mighty acts.
Right now, right here, whether you are sheltered in place, working as an essential employee, trying to get unemployment payments, seeking discernment for next steps, or wherever you might be at this moment; it might not feel like the best place or time to proclaim God’s mighty acts. Remember this, though: in your daily life you are sustained by the God who calls you and chooses you and reminds you that you are precious in His sight. His mercy is everlasting, and His love is sure.
Take some time to reflect on where you have seen God’s mercy in the last few weeks. Where do you wish you could see His mercy? How do you think you are called to share His mercy with others at this moment? How can you share an encouraging word with someone around you who is in need of encouragement right now?
“LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 17Give ear, Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. (Isaiah 37:16-17)
In Isaiah 36, we see God’s people in a dire situation. King Sennacherib and his menacing Assyrian army threatened to consume Jerusalem, taunting both God’s people and God himself.
In Isaiah 37, King Hezekiah of Judah turns to the Lord in prayer. Though he would ask the Lord to rescue Judah (36:20), he didn’t begin with this plea. Rather, Hezekiah focused, first of all, on God’s unique and powerful nature, praising Him as the only true God and creator of all things. He prayed, “LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth” (36:16).
Why did Hezekiah begin his prayer with such praise? To be sure, it is always right to praise God. You don’t need a special reason to speak of God’s glories. The fact that God deserves our praise always provides a strong rationale for honoring Him in this way. But I expect that Hezekiah began his prayer with praise for another reason. It strengthened his own confidence in the Lord. When faced with apparently invincible Assyrian power, Hezekiah needed to remember who was the true King of the universe, who in fact created all things. In human terms, Sennacherib’s power appeared to be unmatched. But it was nothing compared to the all-surpassing power of God.
The present challenges of our lives may not be quite as dire as those of Hezekiah, but we all face apparently invincible problems in our lives. There are times when these challenges – at work, at home, in our relationships, in our own hearts – seem overwhelming. In such circumstances, we are certainly free to pour out our fears and needs to the Lord. Yet, sometimes we need to do more than ask for God’s help. Sometimes we need to focus on God’s glory and power. We need to magnify the LORD. By drawing our attention to God’s nature through giving Him praise, our hearts are encouraged. Our minds are uplifted. We remember that no problem is too great for God and that He is with us to help and comfort us.
Moreover, when we praise God as king over all other powers in the universe, we are reminded that God is also king over us. God is sovereign over our lives, our families, our workplaces, our communities, and our leaders. When we praise God as “King of kings and Lord of lords,” we surrender our presumption, our assumption that we can control our lives. As we offer ourselves to God as His servants, we are embraced as His beloved children.
When life is hard, be encouraged by praising God!
1Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. 2For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth. (Psalm 47:1-2)
Every now and then, even though I am a pastor, I need to be reminded of why I worship. Perhaps you do too.
On most Sundays, I join God’s people to offer songs, hymns, prayers, gifts, and other expressions of worship. If I’m on vacation, my family usually par-ticipate in a worship service in one of the local churches where we are va-cationing. I worship regularly because it’s the right thing to do and, quite frankly, because it’s a habit of my life. I don’t remember the last time when I missed Sunday worship, but when I do, it feels strange, much like if I for-got to brush my teeth before bed.
There’s nothing wrong with showing up for a worship service because of a conviction that it’s the right thing to do. Nor should we apologize for wor-shiping as a matter of habit. Duty and habit rightly help to guide our ac-tions in life. But, sometimes, as I stand in church, singing hymns or worship songs, I realize that I’m just going through the motions. I’m singing words, perhaps even thinking about their meaning, but forgetting the fundamen-tal reason why I’m doing what I’m doing.
What is this reason? First, let me say what it is not. We do not worship to feel moved, though warm emotions frequently arise when we worship God. We do not worship to “get something out of the service,” though we often benefit from what happens when we gather with God’s people for worship. We do not worship for anything having to do with ourselves, though wor-ship is one of the most meaningful and transformational things we do in life.
Why do we worship? Psalm 47:1-2 makes this clear: “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. For the LORD Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.” Did you catch that? It’s easily missed. The primary reason for our worship is centered in one simple word: “For.” We worship God FOR God is who God is. We worship because of who God is and what God has done. Our worship is a response to God, to God’s nature and activity.
As Christians, our worship is centered in the Gospel: the good news of what God has done in Jesus Christ. That’s why we continually remember the Gospel in our worship, whether in word or sacrament, in praying or sing-ing, in silence or celebration. We worship and praise God. For the unique, all-powerful, sovereign, holy, righteous God has reached out to us in love through Jesus Christ, saving us from sin and death, drawing us into fellow-ship with Him and with His people, enlisting us as partners in His work to redeem and restore the world. Now there’s a reason to worship!
What helps you to worship with heart, soul, mind, and strength?
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:11)
In last week’s sermon, we were reminded that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, to “teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
The Apostle Paul has much to say about the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Though we are embodied beings, we are not defined by our fleshly, sinful nature. Rather, we are, “however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.” (Ro-mans 8:9). We need to know that this makes all the difference in our lives! We read in verse 11: “if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you..”
Notice that Paul describes God as the God “who raised Jesus from the dead.” The death-defeating, life-giving power of God is essential and vital both to God’s nature and to our experience of God. This experience is centered in the Holy Spirit who is both “the Spirit of him who raised Jesus” and the “Spirit that dwells in you.” Through the dwelling Spirit within us, God “will give life to your mortal bodies.” Though our bodies are mortal because of sin, we will one day be raised when the Spirit gives eternal life to us.
How does this verse speak to us in the midst of our present coronavirus crisis? First, it offers the promise of life beyond this life. In a time when we are more aware than usual of our mortality, when we are reminded of the fact that we will die, it’s reassuring to know that physical death is not the end for us. We will be raised into the life of the new heaven and new earth, when disease and death are no more.
Second, this life-giving Spirit is not somewhere in the future. Romans 8:11 reminds us that the Spirit of life dwells in us right now. The very power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us in the present. Now, this does not mean that we are immune to all suffering. What it does mean is that, no matter what our situation is in this life, God is with us, and not just with us, but within us through his Spirit. Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, God is right there – with us, in us, surround-ing us, empowering us, and giving us confident hope for the future.
Let us thank God for the gift of His Spirit, dwelling in us. Let us also live with confident hope in the future life that God has for us. May we be atten-tive to the presence and guidance of God’s Spirit within us, and thus, live with power and purpose in this life. For His glory, Amen!
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experi-enced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to en-dure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:8-9)
Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! This past week, fresh after Easter, I have been thinking through the question, “How does the resurrection of Jesus matter as we face the challenges of the current crisis?” To find the answer, turn to 2 Corinthians 1.
The Apostle Paul begins the letter remarkably transparent with his personal or-deal. In verses 3-7, Paul speaks of “trouble” and “suffering” that he has endured, without specific details. The suffering is likely associated with his preaching of the gospel. Paul’s point is that, in the midst of his trial, God comforted him so that he might comfort others. Paul admits that he was “under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself” (v. 8). In fact, he felt as if he “had received the sentence of death” (v. 9). This is a striking revelation of deep personal anguish.
Many of us can relate to that sentiment, especially in our present days when thou-sands of people are suffering with the coronavirus, grieving over lost loved ones, or experiencing financial hardships. We may very well know what it feels like to be “under great pressure,” “utterly, unbearably crushed,” and to “despair of life itself.”
Yet Paul says he experienced something truly redemptive in his suffering, “Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” His affliction forced him to face his own limitations and weaknesses. On his own, he could not carry on in such hard times. He was compelled not to rely on himself, “but on God who raises the dead.” How does Paul know God in this way? Because of the resurrection of Jesus. The Easter event anchors Paul’s faith and secures his hope. (See 1 Corinthi-ans 15 for how the resurrection of Jesus is central to Christian faith.)
The verb translated as “rely on” (v. 9) could also be rendered “depend on” or “trust in.” Eugene Peterson wonderfully captures the idea in The Message: “We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally – not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead!” Because of his affliction, Paul was forced to trust God totally.
When things are going well in life, when there is no pandemic, when the economy is strong, when our work is flourishing, it is easy for us to rely on ourselves. But, when bad things happen to us and our loved ones, when we are threatened by a powerful disease, when the economy falters, or when we wonder about our own financial security, then we, like Paul, realize just how much we need God. Self-reliance seems naïve and unwise.
Because of the resurrection, we have good reason to rely on God. We know that God is both trustworthy and powerful. Yes, we hope that God will deliver us from the perils we face, even as God once delivered Paul (2 Cor. 1:10-11). But we believe that, no matter what happens to us in this age, our lives belong forever to the Lord. In the end, He will not only rescue us, but also redeem and restore us, along with all creation. Thus, we rely on God by faith, trusting fully in the God who raises the dead.
“… the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself” (John 20:7)
Today, Easter Sunday, the Christian Church formally celebrates Jesus’ resurrection. But we should practice Easter every Sunday as “little Easters,” as we take time to focus on how the resurrection that we say we believe in is actually lived out in our lives throughout the year.
As Christians, we believe in the historical Jesus and the cultural context within which He lived, as well as in the divine person of Christ Jesus who gifts us with salvation and eternal life. Therefore, Jesus, the man, was a reflection in many ways of the culture within which He was born and lived.
John 20:7 shows us one instance of how Jesus used the customs and culture of His time to teach with parables, to spread His message, and to prove His divinity and His return to earth again. The Gospel of John (20:7 RSV, NKJV) tells us that the napkin/handkerchief, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the other grave clothes. John takes great care to tell us that the napkin, which covered His head, was neatly folded, and was placed at the head of that stony coffin.
According to John, early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She found Simon Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord's body out of the tomb, and I don't know where they have put Him!”
Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb. The other disciple got there first, and saw the linen cloth lying there, but he didn't go in. When Simon Peter arrived, he went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus' head was folded up and lying to the side, away from the other wrappings.
Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection? Was that important? Absolutely! Is it really significant? Yes!
To understand the significance of the folded napkin, we need to know about the Hebrew culture of Jesus’ day. Every Jewish person knew the meaning of the folded napkin. When the servant set the dinner table for the master, the servant made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it. Then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating. The servant would not dare touch the table until the master was finished. When the master was finished eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers and mouth, clean his beard, and wad up the napkin and toss it onto the table. Only then, the servant would clear the table. The wadded napkin meant, “I’m finished.” But if the master got up from the table, folded his napkin and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because the folded napkin meant, “I'm coming back!”
Let us be reminded daily that Jesus Christ is “Not Finished.”
He is coming back for His faithful servants.
“If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it…” (Mark 11:3)
In college, I had a plethora of jobs to pay for school. I worked hard and long, yet I was still a poor and starving student. Well, I didn’t really starve, but I was limited on my choice of meals. My dream was to build a successful career in the medical field so that I would be able to lead a comfortable life, without worrying what I could or could not afford to eat. That was until the Lord began to place His dream for my life in my junior year in college. God’s call gradually grew over time to the point that I knew my future was not in medicine, but in full-time Christian Ministry. For several years, I worked a secular job with a very good salary, while I wrestled with God over His call for my life (never wrestle with God, not only will you not win, you might also end up walking with a limp for the rest of your life). I finally obeyed, resigned from my well-paying secular job and gave my future life into the hands of the One who called me. Though there have been many challenges, I have never regretted that decision. In fact, I often wonder where my life might have taken me, if I hadn’t obeyed His voice.
As Jesus was preparing to make His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, Jesus asks two of His disciples to go to a nearby village, where they would find a tied colt that no one had ridden. He asks the two disciples to untie the colt and bring it to Him with the words, “If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it …” (Mark 11:3).
That colt became a symbol of the Palm Sunday story and a part of the fulfillment of the prophecy given by Zechariah, “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9). “The Lord had need of it.” Thankfully, the people released it to the disciples (Mark 11:4-6). Thus, began Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mark 11:7-10).
On this Palm Sunday, what is Jesus asking from you? What does He need from you, to fulfil a part of His great plan in this broken world; in this crazy world we are living in today? Is it a special talent, your time, your energy, your career, maybe part of your finances? Does He need your knowledge, your wisdom or your work experience? Whatever He needs, as He speaks to you, do not hold it back, but release it freely, just like the village folk released the colt. If ‘The Lord needs it’, and you release it, He will do amazing things through what you offer Him!
Many years ago, I read Pastor David Wilkerson’s powerful book “The Cross and the Switchblade.” In it, Pastor Wilkerson shares about how, convicted by God, he made a decision to give up his time of relaxation in the evenings so that he could use that time to seek God’s face in a deeper way. As he kept honoring that commitment to God, one night, God spoke to him about ministering to street gangs. That was the moment when the worldwide ministry of Teen Challenge was birthed!! It all happened because he responded by releasing what God needed from him. May we do the same: release to God’s use those things that “the Lord needs” from us.
Trusting God Strategy #3: REMEMBER GOD’S CHARACTER
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21)
We grow in our trust in God by actively calling to mind God’s faithful, steadfast character. We must call three specific things to mind on a regular basis: first, the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. Second, the mercies of the Lord never come to end and are new every morning. And thirdly, great is God’s faithfulness. The combination of God’s steadfastness, faithfulness, and constant mercy compels us to trust God.
Here’s the key. If we’re going to succeed in trusting God, we must actively and constantly call to mind these truths about God. It’s not enough to just know them, like I know that 2 + 2 = 4 and that kale tastes gross. I must engage my mind with these truths. With God’s character in mind, I’m able to trust God even when things don’t make sense.
Charles Spurgeon said: “Let us lean on God with all our weight. Let us throw ourselves on His faithfulness as we do on our beds, bringing all our weariness to His dear rest.”
Trusting God Strategy #4: RECALL GOD’S PAST FAITHFULNESS
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
This verse says that God is absolutely unchanging. From everlasting to everlasting, He is God. Period. He never shifts, never changes, never fluctuates. If God never changes, and He has been faithful to us in the past, then we can be absolutely sure that He will be faithful to us in the future.
In His faithfulness, He has sustained us through all kinds of trials, toils, and snares from the moment we were born. Because God never changes, His past faithfulness is a guarantee of His future faithfulness. We can be sure that God will continue to sustain us, to uphold us, and to shepherd us to green pastures.
Yes, God has indeed held us fast, and He will continue to do so. For this reason, trusting God in the midst of trials is truly possible.
Trusting God Strategy #5: PRAY FOR FAITH
“The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:5-6)
Trusting God is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. Even if we know all the truths above, the Holy Spirit must empower us to take hold of them by faith. We need the Holy Spirit to move these glorious truths from our head to our heart. Otherwise, trusting God will be impossible for us.
We must consistently and constantly pray that God would enable us to trust Him, even when life doesn’t make sense. We need God’s help to wait patiently for Him.
Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Yes, we are called to actively put our trust in God. We must work at trusting God. At the same time, God must empower us to obey. We pray and we also obey. Because we know that He’s good, faithful, steadfast and ready to give us grace, we can trust Him with our whole heart. As Charles Spurgeon put it: “God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.”
When life goes out of control, such as we have today, trusting God becomes really hard. There are all kinds of “What if?” scenarios. What if I lose my job? What if I can’t pay the bills? What if I catch the virus? What if run out of food and supplies?
Rather than trusting God who promises to be faithful to me, I am tempted to trust in my own ability to navigate my current circumstances. When that happens, I usually end up feeling really anxious, burdened, and like it is the end of the world.
So how can I learn to trust in God even when life is really hard and confusing? Here are five biblical strategies that can be deployed at any time.
Trusting God Strategy #1: LEAN NOT ON MY OWN UNDERSTANDING
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5)
When overwhelmed, burdened, and battered by life’s circumstances, the temptation is to trust in self rather than the Lord. Sinful self-sufficiency is hardwired into us. The belief is that if we can devise the right strategy and smart moves, we can get through life on our own. By our wit and grit.
Of course, the painful reality is that we’re not smart enough to navigate the dangerous shoals of life. We don’t have the wisdom to successfully weave through all the hazards of life.
God’s Word calls us to trust in Him with all our heart and to not lean one iota on our own understanding. When tempted to fear and doubt and worry, God calls us to abandon our own understanding of the situation and trust Him completely. The simple reality is that we don’t know all the glorious things God is doing in and through our circumstances.
John Piper wrote: “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them…Not only may you see a tiny fraction of what God is doing in your life; the part you do see may make no sense to you.”
Things might not make sense, but God knows exactly what He’s doing. Trusting God starts with not leaning on our own understanding and trusting God with ALL our heart.
Trusting God Strategy #2: RUN TO THE THRONE OF GRACE
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
What an awesome and powerful promise this is. The Bible is so open and honest. It clearly acknowledges that there will be times of need. There will be times when we are brought low. Brokenhearted. In tears. Feeling absolutely bewildered by everything going on around us. Fearful. Scripture never makes life to be all roses and peaches. The Bible fully acknowledges that there are times when life is plainly difficult.
But the Bible also tells us exactly what to do in those times. When life is hard and bewildering, and when trusting God is difficult, run to the throne of grace. There we find Jesus, ready to give us exactly what we need. He too endured hardship, heartbreak and suffering, and because of this, He can give us grace when we experience the same things. When we are struggling with trusting God, He invites us to run to Him for sustaining grace.
(… to be continued…)