Monday, August 3, 2009

Truth for the Troublesome Times in Life

Over the years, I’ve seen how quickly the world can change. It only takes a moment for our lives to be completely altered for good or for bad.

Whether it is an unexpected promotion and raise, the birth of a child, or reconnecting with an old friend, we welcome many of life’s “surprises.” But we have all experienced troublesome times in life too. An illness devastates our family. We lose a loved one. Cutbacks force us out of a job. You and I face those challenges as best we can but often wonder how to go on.

It’s natural for us to seek peace when difficulties bombard us—to look for shelter in our times of storm. We know it is available because the apostle Paul wrote, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am” (Phil. 4:11). However, we need to be careful to seek refuge in the right place. So where can we find strength and confidence when we face troubles?

God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and those who are called according to His purpose. . . . If God is with us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? . . . Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:28-29, 31-32, 35, 37-39).

No matter what you face in life, I believe that these four simple truths from God’s Word can make an awesome difference and lead you to victory.

First, whenever you face difficulties, remember that God is in control of all your circumstances (Rom. 8:28-29). Psalm 103:19 declares, “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens and His sovereignty rules over all.” This is why believers can be sure that we will overcome every obstacle and problem—because God can handle whatever happens and is responsible for leading us to victory. Though He may not have initiated our trials, He allowed them. That means He can bring good out of them and teach us powerful lessons if we trust Him.

Second, remember that the Lord takes full responsibility for all your needs when you are following Him in obedience (Rom. 8:31-32). Paul confirmed this principle when he wrote, “God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19). The Father is faithful to provide for you, even when you cannot see how He will do so (Ps. 37:25). After all, He provided His very best—His only begotten Son—to save you from your sins. Of course, this doesn’t mean that God will give you everything you want. Sometimes the things you desire do not fulfill His purpose for your life. But you can be sure that whatever the Lord offers you—and even in what He withholds—He always has your best interest at heart (Matt. 7:9-11).

Third, remember that if you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Lord is always with you (Rom. 8:35-37). You are not alone. No matter where you go or what you go through, God will never forsake you (Deut. 31:6, 8; John 14:18; Heb. 13:5). David testified to this when he wrote, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me” (PS. 23:4). Though others may abandon you or leave you for some reason, the Lord won’t. He can’t because as a believer, you are sealed with His Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30). This means that you always have the most powerful Friend, Counselor, and Advocate with you to heal you, help you, and lead you when the road of life grows lonely and confusing.

Finally, remember that the Lord loves you with an eternal, irrevocable love (Rom. 8:38-39). You cannot lose God’s love. It is unconditional, sacrificial, and based on His unwavering character—not on your behavior (Rom. 5:8; 1 John 4:7-10). That does not mean He condones sin. On the contrary, ungodly behavior is destructive to you, so He despises it. Rather, it means His affection for you is not based on what you do. You don’t have to earn it or work to keep it. When you fail, you do not forfeit it. And no one could ever convince Him to care for you less. His love is freely given and all you have to do is open your heart and receive it.

We cannot escape the changes and trials of life, but believers can have confidence no matter what we face. So my prayer is that you will look to God no matter what your circumstances are. Rejoice that He is in control, provides for your needs, is always with you , and loves you. Because that, my friend, is the way to peace, strength, and assurance through even the most troublesome times in life.

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