A Closer Walk
Going through a distressing situation now? Experienced calamities in the past? We all go through trials at various times and during different seasons. Sometimes we ourselves are experiencing the difficulties. Other times it is a loved one going through the tribulation and we endure with them a circumstance that we cannot change and cannot fix. In the Old Testament such people as Joseph and Esther and Job had to endure situations beyond their control. In the New Testament the Apostle Paul endured undesirable circumstances, many beyond his control. But these people endured, continued on, and ultimately were used by God to further and build up His Kingdom.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation,” 1 Peter 4:12-13 NASB. The Apostle Peter explains to us that we should not be surprised when difficult times occur. In fact he exhorts us to keep on rejoicing (implying that we are already rejoicing) as we share in the sufferings of Christ Jesus. Let's be clear. We don't search for suffering. We don't seek out suffering. And we certainly don't ask in prayer for suffering. Yet, each believer, indeed each person, experiences suffering at some appointed time or season. So how should we handle suffering? What should we do during suffering?
"My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken. On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us," Psalm 62:5-8 NASB.
Trust in Him at all times, O people? Really? Why should we trust in the Lord? Because He only is our rock and our salvation. He alone is our stronghold. Therefore we should not be shaken because of fiery ordeals, as Peter called them. He is the rock of our strength. And our refuge is in Him. Remember as a child having something happen that scared you? You would run to Mommy or Daddy and throw your arms around them. They would enfold you in their arms and immediately you felt safe, loved, and cared for. That is our God, our Heavenly Father, who is ready and waiting for us to run into His arms for safety and protection. He is our refuge, our rock, our stronghold. Our hope is from Him. On Him our salvation and our glory rest. Therefore we should pour out our hearts before Him. For He is our refuge, our rock, and our stronghold.
“Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him,” Job 13:15 NASB. The Old Testament book of Job introduces us to its main character, a man named Job, who endured deep trials and tribulations. He clearly recognized Almighty God's sovereignty. But he determined nevertheless to argue his ways before God. Yes, the Lord is sovereign. Yes, the Lord can do anything He wants anytime He wants to whomever He wants. And in His sovereignty He chose to throw open to us, His children, the doorway to the Throne of Grace; God's Throne. This makes it possible for us to come into His presence, before His very Throne (think about what an honor and a privilege that is), and argue our ways. Or said differently, to come before Him and plead our case. And when we do that we know that He will answer us.
Here is a touching moment between the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk and his sovereign God, as Habakkuk pours out his heart before the Lord. “Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail, And the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the field, and there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength... ,” Habakkuk 3:17-19 NASB. Habakkuk seems to know and understand that no matter what calamity or distress may befall him, the Lord God Almighty is his salvation and his strength.
“My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken. On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.”