TRUSTING GOD IN TRYING TIMES

We are going through a unique time in history. It seems as if the odds are continually piling up against mankind as a whole. How can we hold on to our faith in God when things go wrong? When 2020 shuts down our lives, routines, and isolates us from those we lean on for support? How can we be thankful and trust God at a time like this?

It’s important to remember that God hasn’t promised us a rose garden. Not in this present world, anyhow. In fact, we never find that in the Bible… maybe the exact opposite. When life seems full of pain, we need to remember that we live in a fallen world. If things go wrong and trials come our way, this isn’t a reflection on the power and genuineness of God’s love for us! Nor does it necessarily imply that we have sinned against Him or displeased Him. It simply means that the world isn’t what it’s supposed to be anymore.

Genesis 3 tells the story of mankind’s fall from grace. The once perfect now has a stain on it that we know as sin. This fall created a divide between our perfect Creator and us. It caused us to rebel against Him; it affected our physical bodies, bringing sickness and death into the world. It threw a wrench into our relationships with one another. It introduced pain and suffering into our lives. Because of this… the world in which we live today is not the world as God intended it to be. It is, in a very real sense, a defective world.

The good news is that The Bible continues after Genesis 3 and the Fall. In fact, the rest of the Good Book points us to the fact that the Lord is not content to leave us there in our brokenness. This is the second thing we need to bear in mind. Our Father in Heaven has a plan to fix the brokenness of the world and heal the pain in our personal lives. He loved us enough to send Jesus Christ, His only Son (John 3:16), to reverse the effects of the fall. Christ has come to reconcile us to God.

Of course, the Bible never gives us any reason to suppose that these reconciliations and changes are going to take place overnight. On the contrary, it states very clearly that while we live in the flesh, we can expect to experience hard times. Ultimately, a day is coming when there will be no more sickness, pain, or death… but meanwhile, there’s nothing wrong with being honest about our pain and hardships.

The men and women of the Bible understood this. That’s why I love Scripture! It speaks into our situations and gives us a glimpse at hope… a glimpse to what is on the other side of the situations and circumstances that we face.

Does anyone else ever find themselves not fully trusting God? Not fully letting go of the things in our lives that are hard to let go of? I for one do!

Trusting God would certainly be easier if we could see Him and His angel armies face to face. But even though we can’t see them in the physical realm, we can trust they’re in the spiritual realm… a realm more powerful than anything we could ever imagine. Even when we don’t see God working, we can be sure He is!

God shows us a powerful glimpse into that spiritual realm in 2 Kings 6:8-17. Syria was fighting the Israelites, and God used His prophet Elisha to predict how the Syrians would attack, and to warn the Israelite army.

The Bible explains that this enraged the King of Syria, so he began plotting to attack and cut off Elisha from helping Israel. But God stepped in and protected Elisha and his servant and even changed what they were allowed to see in the physical realm.

2 Kings 6:8-15 says,

Once when the king of Syria was warring against Israel, he took counsel with his servants, saying, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.” But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are going down there.” 10 And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God told him. Thus he used to warn him, so that he saved himself there more than once or twice. 11 And the mind of the king of Syria was greatly troubled because of this thing, and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you not show me who of us is for the king of Israel?” 12 And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” 13 And he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him.” It was told him, “Behold, he is in Dothan.” 14 So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city. 15 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”

I’ve felt like this before. Haven’t you? Difficult circumstances press in from every side. You might think to yourself, “I can’t do this anymore.” Has anyone else been there? Has anyone else ever been so stressed out, so anxious, that they just want to mentally check out or even cry? We think, “Where are You, God? You promised You would never leave me or forsake me, but I don’t sense Your presence. Why aren’t You doing something? I want out of this story!” Can anyone relate to that? If there was a time that this was relatable I think the last 18 months would be it for many of us!

The problems that surround us we can’t change and often can’t control. They are part of life. They are part of that abnormal imperfect and broken world in which we reside in.

Elisha’s servant probably felt the same way.

But check out how Elisha responds to his servants fear. 2 Kings 16 says,

16 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 

Did you catch that? Elisha knows to not be afraid, because the God we serve is greater than the obstacles we may face.

How can we better trust God during trying times? By remembering, “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Elisha knew there was more power and strength in the unseen than the seen reality of the enemy’s army. The passage continues in verse 17 with,

17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 

Elisha didn’t pray for God to send an army, because the warring angels on chariots of fire were already there. He knew they were there! He had faith in a God that had brought him to this point. Elisha simply prayed his servant would be allowed to see them at work.

Elisha had faith in his God who had proven Himself faithful up to this point. We all have the ability to do this. In fact, we all do this to some degree everyday! When you sit down you have faith that the chair you sit in will hold you… because it has proven it’s ability to do so every other time!  

Friend, God is surrounding whatever difficult situation is surrounding you. God most likely won’t pull back the curtain separating the physical realm from the spiritual realm for us to see, but we can be assured: We’re surrounded by a heavenly host of angels, ready to protect us in our deepest struggles.

Our God loves us and will never leave us to fight alone. We just have to surrender and allow him to fight. You might be saying, “Tanner, I don’t remember the last time I felt the presence of God in my life. Things are out of control and I just don’t see a way out.” Let me reassure you, God is there and He has never stopped loving you.

You see. God’s care for his children is like the sun: it’s constant. It’s always there! Even though the clouds obscure it, it doesn’t mean the sun isn’t there. Even in the darkest of nights we know the sun is still there and if we hold out long enough we will see it again.

We may not always recognize God’s love and presence in our lives, but let me tell you that it’s there if you make the choice to find it.

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