There seem to just be so many hard and trying things going on right now that I feel the need to dive in and hopefully draw some encouragement from God’s Word that will hopefully give us some strength.
First, let me remind everyone that Jesus didn’t tell us that our lives were going to be flawlessly happy and everything that we want. Actually, quite to the contrary He tells us in John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” This is echoed when we’re counseled to see these things for what they are and to even be joyful as we share in these sufferings in James 1:2 “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”
I think the Amplified version sums this up best with it’s inline commentary; “We know [for a fact] that we are of God, and the whole world [around us] lies in the power of the evil one [opposing God and His precepts].” 1 John 5:19
Beloved, if you believe in Christ Jesus and have been born again through His saving grace then You are a child of the Most High Living God. Romans 8:14-17 reminds us that “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.”
Despite being told and assured that we will suffer and endure suffering and hardships, there is great comfort to be drawn from scripture. This comfort comes from the knowledge that our God created ALL things and that nothing, absolutely nothing is too hard or impossible for Him.
“God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.” John 1:3
“‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.” Jeremiah 32:17
“For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37
“And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” Colossians 1:17
I think this is a good place to stop and just sum up what we can gather from this. Our Father God is supreme and sovereign! He created the universe, all things seen and unseen; and there is nothing, absolutely NOTHING that He doesn’t see and doesn’t have complete control over. Moreover, we are given this assurance in the book of Job.
“One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them.” “All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence.” Job 1:6 and 12
I don’t know about you but, I read these two verses and it comforts me to know that even the evil that satan causes and brings into this world has to at the very least be allowed by the Almighty God. Sure, I have questions and there are some things with all of this that I don’t understand. That said, I have to remember that my feeble mind can’t comprehend the wonders and depth of God. This is where I have to put my faith into action and just trust Him.
We go on in Job to see this division and downright conflict of good and evil spoken of again. Again I go to the Amplified version in Job 12:9-10 “Who among all these does not recognize [in all these things that good and evil are randomly scattered throughout nature and human life] That the hand of the Lord has done this, In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind?”
Before we stop and really start questioning God we have to remember that we humans were the ones who gave in to the temptation to sin. For my own understanding I have to believe that in the beginning God intended to fully protect all humanity from this prevailing evil, however, through the free will that God gave us we have opened the door through our sin to being both influenced and effected by that evil. After all, the serpent even told Eve in Genesis 3 verse 5 that “in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” While our belief, discipleship, and relationship with Christ covers our sin we still live in this world of darkness and evil and until Christ returns or our time comes to pass from this life we are still subject to the cruelty of this world and its evils.
As God’s children through our belief in Christ we need to take heart though. Philippians 2:13 says that “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” I think this is a good place to remind ourselves not only that EVERYTHING that happens goes through His hand but, also that we are His beloved children. As believers I think we can accept and believe the promises that God has always made to His beloved.
In Isaiah 41:10 God says, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
I think that it is through our resolve and determination to trust in God, to have faith in Him, to continue doing what’s right even when it hurts, and in our drawing unexplainable peace from Him is one way that we show that we are different. Instead of building monuments like old testament times these traits within us are how we show “that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” Joshua 4:24
This is a good place to remind everyone of the command that we have been given in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 to “encourage one another and to build each other up”. This is also a good place to remember how the first family of believers in Acts took care of one another in all practical ways so that their focus could be on living like Christ and in sharing the good news of this free gift of salvation that God has given to us through Him. Sure, lifting one another can come in prayer, companionship, and friendship, however, our Christlike service also means sharing of all that God has given to us and to being a servant to others in practical ways as well.
“If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.” 2 Timothy 2:12
I want to discuss this verse because it brings us a huge amazing promise but, also leaves us facing a challenge. We are promised that if we endure that we will reign for eternity with Christ. That said, we must turn away from our sinfulness and the prevailing darkness and evil that surrounds us. We must be different, we must reflect Christ in our salvation through Him each and every day and be the light that shines through this darkness for all to see. When we fail to live like Christ we may not be speaking but our actions are denying the very gift that God has given to us. Yes, this is very convicting and I think that it should be. We need to be shaken to our very core by this truth so that we will fear God and remember our desire to please Him with the essence of our lives and how we live. Remember, salvation isn’t a ticket to shove in our pocket only to be punched at our time of judgement. We are supposed to live and breathe this gift that God has given to us each and every day.
As we encounter trials, troubles, hardships, afflictions, and whatever suffering comes our way let’s always remember that our God reigns supreme! He is the one who created and has the power to destroy all things and EVERYTHING that happens, both good and evil, is seen and known by Him and must go through His approval. One day very soon He will have His fill of our suffering and He will send His Son who is Christ Jesus our King back to come and gather His children unto Himself. This should be the greatest encouragement of all!
“He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I (Jesus) am coming quickly.”
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Revelation 22:20-21
Father God, I love You and I thank You for inspiring this message this today. Please honor my intentions in writing the words that you have given me and redeem them for Your glory. I ask that You will be merciful and gracious to touch the hearts of those who read this and that You will use it to both encourage and challenge them as You have touched me today. I ask that You would bless each of us by opening the eyes of our hearts to see and to know You a little better as we seek to know you more. Please draw us close to yourself and shine Your glorious face upon us. Please Father, show us Yourself and give us Your favor, hope, and peace. Fill us with joy and peace in our belief of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ that we may be filled with hope. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit that we may know You more and that You may mould us and make us more and more like Christ each day. Please comfort us in our Sufferings, show us Your deep love and affection for us, and pour out the blessings and gifts that You have for us so that we might be encouraged and also that we may encourage one another. Help us to know how to use those gifts and what to say and do so that those who don’t believe will come to know You and Your love. I pray and ask all these things of You Father in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ who is my Savior and King; AMEN