Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Know God, Know Peace
No God, No Peace

As I sit here watching the news, they are closing the schools for the rest of the school year. There have been many difficult decisions made in an attempt to reduce the impact of a virus and possibly save some lives.

I also have watched as many have panicked and acted very selfishly. Fear of the unknown drives many to act in ways they might not otherwise, but it shows us the true nature of mankind.

This is not intended to shame people or to be some preachy article about never being afraid. Fear is a natural part of our humanity. It is also useful as a mechanism to protect ourselves from harm. If you are not afraid of the poisonous snake, you might just get bitten. If you are not afraid of the tiger, you might get eaten.

I cannot make predictions about what might happen, let alone some kind of guarantee. However, I want to bring some perspective and some encouragement. As God’s children, we have a hope that transcends all of the difficulties of this life. Times of difficulties are opportunities to share Jesus with the world that needs to know Him.

There are many encouraging scriptures to lay hold of. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” Psalm 46:1-3. This passage gives us a perspective on the world around us. It can be a scary and dangerous place, and without God it should be. However, for God’s people, it is only a temporary place where we can cling to God as our refuge.

This does not mean that we never have fear, but it does mean that we have a different reaction to fear. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh  my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2. We have our Heavenly Father that we can look to for help. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us.

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say  of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.  Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover  thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.” Psalm 91:1-7. We place our trust in our God because He is the only one that can deliver us. If we put our trust in ourselves or in a government institution, we will end up disappointed.

There is no other place to put our trust. And, it is not enough to just to say we trust in God, it needs to be in our heart. “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting  in the LORD.” Psalm 112:7. Having our heart fixed in the Lord will keep us from drifting with the sentiment of the world.

It is so important that we stay in God’s Word. Every day that we choose to not send time with our Lord in His word, we come a little closer to being overtaken by the world and the things that will overwhelm our heart. “Yea, though I walk  through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4. Be sure that you are not walking through that valley without the rod and the staff. It really can be a scary place.

While we have an enemy that is real and is very dangerous, we have a Father who is real and is truly in control. We CAN trust in Him. How do we know we can trust Him. First, He is the only one that is truly able to deliver. History (God’s Word) clearly proves that God is the only one that can do all that He claims. Secondly, He is our faithful Father. His love for us exceeds any that we could imagine form anyone anywhere.

“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow  not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” Matthew 6:26. “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31.

While I cannot offer any guarantees for what will happen, I can offer some guarantees. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor  forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Hebrews 13:5-6.

Jesus made some promises: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3. What is there about this world that we would fret over when we know we have something better awaiting us. If God has prepared a place for us, do we think He is unable to care for us here?

When the world is full of fear, let us, as God’s precious people, show the world what we have and offer them real peace and rest.

Gordon Crook