Confidence in Troubled Times
Confidence in Troubled Times
Do you ever feel that life is one challenge after another?
Civilisation, as we know it, has come under attack. There are three main things that we need – food, shelter, employment. The current economic climate has given rising unemployment, companies going out of business, etc. We have seen housing problems with repossessions climbing because people cannot continue to repay their mortgage. The economic climate has produced rising costs – fuel, transport which has led to higher food costs.
Perhaps you are one of thousands who struggles to keep your home, feed your family, or stay employed. Or maybe your battle involves your health, your marriage, or a rebellious child. Whatever form it takes, hardship comes to every life sooner or later. You and I live in a fallen world. Even as believers, we have no guarantee that our lives will be easy.
How often are we told that God causes all things to work together for good. If that is so, then God is in control of our circumstances. Where we are experiencing difficulties or have needs, wants or desires, God can turn them to our good. If it is not so, then where in the world are we?
We have just passed Remembrance Day where we have remembered those who gave their lives during the two world wars and other, more recent conflicts. In the 1930’s we had the Depression. Will it get any better? Not according to the last book of the Bible, Revelation.
Why will it not get better? The leaders refuse to accept not only the authority of the Bible, but the fact that it is a guidebook for governing as well as living.
However, we don’t have to be anxious in the midst of difficulty. We can live confidently. The Word of God gives us four foundational truths that can help face troubled times with confidence.
Key Passage: Romans 8:28-39
Supporting Scripture: Psalms 103:19; 23:4; 37:4; 139;Matthew 6:8; 28:18-20; John 14:6; 15:4; Philippians 4:19; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Hebrews 13:5
1. God controls our circumstances.
Psalm 103:19 says, “The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.”
Rom. 8:28 says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Emphasis on we know – in the original Greek, the meaning was that “we know by experience”.
Also, note that the verse does not stop at “for good” but goes on with a qualification – “to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
This promise is the basis of our confidence in troubled times. God is absolute control. We can be sure that the Father will bring good even out of negative experiences in the lives of those who love Him.
Many people think that the Christian life is supposed to be trouble free. But the Bible never promises a comfortable life. Instead, the Father’s goal for us is to learn how to depend on Him and become more like Christ (Rom. 8:29 says “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren”).
To learn how to rely on God, we must first realize how much we need Him. That is one reason why He allows difficulty in our lives. Other people have a limited degree of freedom to sin against us. However, there is no such thing as absolute free will. If man had that, then it would be unsafe to be alive in the world today. The Father also permits disease, natural disaster, and other tragedy to affect us. Despite this, we can have confidence based on two facts:
(1) nothing can happen to one of God’s children unless He allows it; and
(2) if the Lord allows adversity, He will bring good out of it somehow.
2. God will meet our needs.
Romans 8:31-32 says, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, so how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” In other words, since the Father allowed Jesus – His ONLY begotten Son – to be sacrificed on our behalf, we should not doubt that He will provide for us. Although we have the freedom to pray about everything, Scripture tells us that God knows what we lack before we even ask (Matt. 6:8).
Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Notice that this verse does not promise that we will get all we want from God. In fact, if the Lord gave us all we desire, we would certainly regret some of our requests. Our heavenly Father knows what to withhold and what to give us.
Why does God allow some prayers to go unanswered? There are two primary reasons:
(1) He wants to teach us to depend on Him, or
(2) He has something better for us.
Remember that the Father’s ultimate purpose is to conform us into the image of His Son, not to grant our wishes or make our lives comfortable. But we can learn how to be content in every circumstance, trusting God to supply us with all we truly need (2 Cor. 12:9-10 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”).
3. God is always with us.
In Romans 8:35-39, Paul writes “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,” For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
The problem comes when you and I rely on our feelings instead of on the truth of God’s Word. Certainly, there are times when we might not sense His presence. And when the Father doesn’t answer in our timing or He doesn’t answer as we expected, we might wonder if He even hears our prayers. But if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, He has said Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (John 15:4) This means that the Holy Spirit is living within you, and He is aware of your every thought. We cannot escape. The psalmist asked where he could hide. The answer – nowhere!
In Hebrews 13:5, our Saviour promised, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” His presence can comfort us, heal us, transform our circumstances, and bless us in countless other ways. For instance, Scripture says that God already sees believers as glorified—holy and without sin—just as we will be in eternity (Rom. 8:30 “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified”). Note the past tense! He sees us as already living in Heaven.
The promise of God’s presence is exclusively for those who have accepted His Son. Jesus said, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Apart from accepting the gift of forgiveness through the death of His Son, sinful humanity cannot access the presence of Holy God. That’s why the only person who can say “The Lord is always with me” is the one who has confessed Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour.
4. God loves us with an eternal love.
If you were to ask the average person, “Do you believe God loves you?” few people would be sure. They may say “I hope so” or “I think so”. They answer on the basis of their conduct or behaviour.
But the Lord does love His creation because His very nature is love (Rom. 8:35-39). He loves us even when we sin although He despises our ungodly behaviour. In love, He will discipline us to keep us from hurting or destroying ourselves.
God loves us with eternal love. How long does that last? Till we next sin? No, it is eternal love,
In the key passage, every single verse is an expression of God’s love.
· Verse 28, His love causes all things to work together for good for our sakes.
· Verse 29 says, in love, He foreknew and predestined us to become like His Son.
· Verse 30, God predestined, called, justified, and glorified us because of His love.
· Verse 31 says no one can successfully come against us because of our heavenly Father’s loving protection.
· Verse 32, He gave His only Son out of love for us.
· Verses 33-34, we see that God justifies us and saves us from condemnation because of love.
· Verse 35, Paul asks, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?” and ultimately concludes that nothing can (Rom. 8:39).
In short, this passage teaches believers that no matter what we face, we can come out richer spiritually than when we started. If we will surrender ourselves to Almighty God, He can use any situation or circumstance for our good. God has a purpose for every one of us. His purpose is always good.
Example: 2 Chinese girls that met Charles Stanley earlier this year. Their father was given a choice – deny Christ and go free or believe in Christ and go to prison. He spent the next 20 years in prison for saying “I believe”. Was that for good? Was God in control? How many people were witnessed to in that prison? What about that man’s testimony – how God sustained him
Are you facing a problem that is beyond your control? Does it disrupt your peace and challenge your trust in God? Consider this—the Father loved you so much that He sent Jesus Christ to die on the Cross for your sins. If the Lord was willing to offer His only Son on your behalf in order to free you from the power of sin, surely He will provide everything else you need.
When unexpected tragedy or hardship comes your way, remember that your heavenly Father is in control of all that happens to you. He will provide exactly what you need, when you need it. The four foundational truths in this message can transform the way you respond to difficulty. Place your trust fully in the Lord, and you will have confidence in every circumstance you face.
God is in absolute control; He supplies our needs; He is always with us and He loves us eternally. That is why Paul could say “We overwhelmingly conquer”.
What are you worried about?