(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 10)
The Psalmists in Psalm 46 declared:
- “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.”
These are bold assertions. The Psalmists had such confidence in God and in his keeping power and providence, that they were basically saying, come what may upon this earth, we will NOT despair or be dismayed.
In Psalm 23:1-4, David also made a boast in his Lord, stating that even if he was surrounded by death, that he would not fear because God was with him. He said:
- “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 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.”
In similar sentiments, Job, while going through adversity and pain like he had never experienced before and having no understanding as to why he was being made to suffer so, made a bold statement. Although I am sure there were days when he felt like he couldn’t possibly bear one more day of the intense pain that he was feeling, knowing of God’s faithful character, even in the midst of his turmoil, he declared: “THOUGH HE SLAY ME, YET WILL I TRUST IN HIM…” (Job 13:15).
In Job 19:7-19, in relaying some of the ordeals that he had been through in his life, which was marked by upheaval after upheaval, Job understood that all that was happening to him was not by chance but was within the will of God to allow it in his life. In agony of mind, body and soul, he stated:
- “Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment. He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths. He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head. He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree. He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies. His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle. He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me. My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me. They that dwell in mine house, and my maids count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight…Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me. All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me.”
What Job was going through, which was permitted by God for His divine purposes, may remind us of some of the ordeals, upheavals and turbulences that we and other people have experienced and are experiencing on the face of the earth today. There are those who are dealing with poverty and the threat of starvation and hunger, while others battle disease, of the mind and the body. Some have been left in ruins, their home having been destroyed by a flood, earthquake, tornado or fire. Others feel at their wit’s end, as if all of the world and its problems are caving in on them. The more they try to get up and forward in life, the more it trips them and throws them down.
Despite the fact that Job, who God allowed to be personally attacked by the devil, so as to showcase Job’s faithfulness, had been tossed to and fro by life’s circumstance, although he was convinced that all he had to look forward to was death and that that was his next chapter, he summed up his strength in the midst of his pain, focused on the one who was above it all and was still able to say:
- “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And THOUGH AFTER MY SKIN WORMS DESTROY THIS BODY, YET IN MY FLESH SHALL I SEE GOD. Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another, THOUGH MY REINS BE CONSUMED WITHIN ME.” (Job 19:25-27).
I don’t think that any of us have quite suffered as much as Job did and in the way that he did. Yet, of a truth, we are living in tumultuous times. There is the Covid Pandemic which wreaked havoc worldwide, which, although it has to a large extent been subdued, still exists and poses a challenge in the form of variants, every now and then, to some populations.
There is the war between Russia and Ukraine that has been going on for some time now, with no visible end in sight. There is the awful incident that transpired on October 7th 2023 in Israel, where people were brutally murdered and some kidnapped suddenly, by people referring to themselves as being in an Arabic group called Hamas. This has led to a war between Israel and this group, in Gaza, where many Palestinian people who have had no part in Hamas’ crimes, have been suffering immensely, some with their lives. As if this was not enough, another arabic group called Hezbollah, has threatened to join the fight I support of this wicked Hamas group, both sharing the same diabolical religious ideology of islam.
In the Caribbean, there has been a resurgence of Dengue Fever in Barbados and the President of Venezuela has suddenly decided, as stirred up by satan, that a portion of land currently considered as being part of Guyana (Essequibo), rightly belongs to Venezuela. Thus far, talks have been had with the CARICOM region to try to quell the threat of a war between the two nations but there is no telling what may transpire in the future.
In several first world countries, there is also a challenge being posed of mass immigration, people entering these countries like swarms of flies and illegally. The United States is currently batting this surge, which shows no sign of abating any time soon, the vast numbers of people that continue to enter, threatening to topple their economy.
Then there are the usual problems in the family and societal setting, which, over the years, have only grown worse. Instead of men protecting and providing for the women they claim to love and the vulnerable among us, they are using their God-given strength and brawn, to physically abuse women and to kill them. The domestic violence statistics are high and every day, there is an abundance of news of crime and criminality, where people, including children, have been killed, sexually or financially exploited, physically violated or abducted and missing.
The Church is not exempt from these trying times. The enemy has planted himself among God’s people as well and is busy wreaking havoc on a daily basis. There are those who are faithful servants of the Lord but many with Church membership are fast racing towards apostasy and indifference. There are grievous wolves that have been positioned all around the Church landscape, casting scorn on the doctrine of God and the truth of his Word, in pursuit of their own agenda, while trying their utmost to give Christianity a bad name. In the midst of all this, there are those who claim to be believers, who are content to continue on in lukewarmness or coldness, unsuspecting, sleeping, preoccupied with earthly matters like getting ahead, making money, pursuing a career and a name for themselves or trying to get a husband or attending to the home, the children and other family matters. As the world continues to drown in its woes, many who call themselves Christiams, have become far too busy with their own affairs, to be bothered to lend a helping hand or to advance the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ, which the world needs to hear and which can bring about transformation in the lives of all who receive it.
As much as I find these occurrences and the uproar taking place in the world to be both alarming and saddening, I cannot claim to be surprised. For, while each generation likes to comfort itself in the hope that the terror to be unleashed on this world and in the Church, will come in some future time when the present generation is no more, the reality of the matter is that God’s Word has long warned us of what would come. Jesus himself told his disciples that upheavals were to be expected. He was not a pessimist but he told them realistically what to expect and that the world would never get better but worse.
He told them in Matthew 24:
- “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
Of this account, Luke reports in Luke 21:9 -11, 16 -20, 22-28, that Jesus said:
- “But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven…And ye shall be betrayed both of parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for name’s sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls.
- And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh… For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! For there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
- And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
- And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear; and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
- And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”
Alas, these things must precede the coming of Jesus Christ, referred to as the Son of Man! When we see them beginning to happen therefore, it should be an indication to us that Christ’s return is imminent. He will come again to judge the world of sin (Acts 17:31) and to gather his jewels (Malachi 3:17), the latter being all those who have believed on his resurrection and confessed with their mouth that he is Lord.
Although some may disagree, I firmly believe that in God’s calendar and by reason of all that is happening globally, that we are experiencing what the Lord Jesus Christ referred to as “the beginning of sorrows”. I believe this because of the indicators that Jesus gave, which we are seeing increasingly all around us. Sadly, if this is just the beginning and things are already so unprecedentedly bad, it means that it will get far worse. It mean that what we see today will still be considered better times, compared to what is still to come.
In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, it tells us for a surety:
- “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
With all that’s happening though, with all that is in disarray and all the chaos that is occurring both within and without, may we look up to the one who has saved us with his precious blood, for our redemption draweth nigh.
May we put our confidence and our trust in Almighty God. For He is the sovereign Lord and the mightiest of all. He is on His throne and STILL in control. The forces of darkness may be relentless but they will NEVER prevail against Him and all those who are part of the body of Christ. God remains the all-wise God and nothing can happen unless He allows it. Yet, he reminds us in His word, that these things that we see in the world, must come to pass, as God has said it would.
And so, God is a God that we can put our trust in. He is a God that we can find strength, stability and security in these times of great upheaval and as we brace ourselves for what is still to come.
Jesus himself said for the benefit of all his children:
- “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me…Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:1, 27)
Thank you for all you are Lord,. Thank you that those who believe on your Son the Lord Jesus Christ, continue in these trying times, to be in the palm of your hand where none can pluck us out. None can separate us from your love. Thank you for the peace that has been provided by your Son. May we fully partake and benefit from this and may it be firmly planted in our hearts and minds, despite the earth’s tempestous turbulences. Your word assures us in Isaiah 26:3, that “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
May we always continue to look up to Jesus, where our hope is and not get wrapped up or overwhelmed with the cares of this life. May we remain focused on Him and meditate on his words, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
(Written on 11th January, 2024)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative or beneficial, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 185 – ‘The Sheep And The Shepherd’