Keeping Faith in the Midst of Our Troubles

bad-19907_640Ephesians 6: 10-17 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,…

What is happening in the world today? Look at our government, our schools, our economy, our  Church. Looking at all the headlines, can get you worrying. Questions begin to cloud your mind, blinding them from simple truths and great comforts. It is easy to start reacting, to try to solve the worlds problems, or at least your world’s problems all by yourself.

What foods are safe for my family? Why is the government limiting my freedoms? What is happening in our economy? (If you are like me, you don’t quite understand it, but you know we are in trouble, like 1929 kind of trouble.) Why are the police harassing ordinary citizens? Why is my church teaching prosperity Gospel and getting away from the Word of God? Why is the school teaching half truths and untruths? How do I protect my family from these things? Can I prepare for some of these things? What if something happens to my preparations? Can I quit my job and homeschool? What if my spouse loses their job? Can I afford Health Care?

What can I do? What will I do? What if it is not enough?

This list of questions varies and continues to grow in each and every mind if left to itself. Everybody asks questions like this, but what we do after asking is what is important. I have learned that if I ask a question like this, it is usually because I am afraid. I need to hand it over to God immediately. If it doesn’t stay with God, if the question slips back into the forefront of my mind, I have to give it back to Him continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

There are so many unknowns. Some things we can change. Seek God’s guidance and then do something.  Others we have no control over and we must leave it to Him. These questions and others, can drive us crazy if we do not have faith in the Lord. So what do we do? If the world causes us to worry, what does a believer do? The short answer, and the one I tell my own children time and time again to answer many questions about what believers do, “Read the Word, and pray.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4, James 1:5-8)

I once heard someone say, if you believe the beginning of the Bible when it says God made this earth, the skies, the seas, surely the rest of the miracles and promises are as easy to believe.  His creation was awesome (Psalm 104:24). It spoke of His power. This was a great way to emphasize the believers faith in what the Bible says, all of it. In following this idea, the Bible also tells us to go to Jesus for forgiveness. While creation was His most powerful deed, forgiveness is, by far, His most loving deed. He loves and cares for us and shows this by providing for our greatest need (Ephesians 2:4, Philippians 4:19, Psalm 40:17, Luke 11:9-13). Why should we worry that He will not take care of our basic needs. After all, He promises it (  Proverbs 10:13, Psalm 23:1).

bible-53753_640Matthew 6: 25-34 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

The Bible is a constant reminder to us that He is in control (Proverbs 19:11, Job 12:10, John 16:33). That we have agreat need of Him. When we try to do things on our own, we come to ruin (Psalm 37:8, Proverbs 28:26) . The Word keeps us close to Him. It gives us comfort that He is with us. He is taking care of us. The  Bible tells us worrying doesn’t produce anything worthwhile (Matthew 6:25). We are to lay our troubles upon Him. We are reminded that troubles come to sharpen us (Colossians 1:11).  It points us back to Him and it points others to Him. Keeping faith during our troubles makes our faith stronger and builds faith in others. For when the unbeliever or those lacking faith see that we continue to bow our knee to Him in prayer, and we continue to seek understanding through reading of His word, even in our troubled times, He is able to use us to show His power and His management of our lives (Psalm 55:22). It encourages others to look to Him in their own troubles, relying on Him, thus repeating this process, building others up faith, sharing stories of answered prayer, encouraging others that God is near (Proverbs 27:17). God is glorified in our troubles and in the resolution of them. He will meet our needs, if you are following Him, submitting to Him,  and giving honor to Him (2 Corinthians 12:10). The time will be His, for His time is best. His time brings glory to Him most (1 Peter 5:6-7).

In Him you will find peace, a happiness, only He can give. In Him, I can be sure( Romans 15:13). If only I am trusting in Him, not in the things that I do. In the deceptive “prosperity Gospel” being taught in so many churches today, I would hear that, “I have what it takes in me. If only I try hard enough, keep a positive attitude, be good to myself, I will see that the success I am searching for.” This lie makes it difficult on a person, especially those new in Christ, so willing to hear that Christ promises us all of our hearts desires, but Christ is missing from this message. In taking all that we know back to the Gospel, we can know that we need to rely on Him for everything. If I am to do anything about my situation, or the world’s situation, I am to do it after seeking his guidance, after seeking His will.

If I look at a troublesome situation, I first ask, is what I desire part of His will. Is it God’s will for a husband to support His family?(Ephesians 4:28) Yes, then a job will  be provided. Does a man have to look for the job? Yes. Should he spend 24 hours a day looking for a job while the rest of his life is left unattended to, not taking rest for food, or leading his family? No. Why? Because taking care of the body,being a Christian leader and a protector to his family is also part of God’s will (1 Corinthians 11:3, 1 Peter 3:7). How can a man protect his family if he is not taking care of himself physically. How can he be a leader in His family if he is not reading the word, gaining instruction and wisdom to impart to his family? It is his job to be the strong voice of faith in the midst of family troubles like the loss of a job. His continual reading and teaching of the word, impresses upon his children that God is in charge. This faith allows God to do His work,  first to take care of their basic needs while the husband is looking for a job and then by providing a job at the right time (Ecclesiastes 8:6). The faith of the father turns the children and wife to look to God in their own personal troubles, again letting God take care of their  needs. Why would God not meet a basic need? You have to ask yourself, “Have I put my faith in Him or in the hoops I have been jumping through? If my needs were to be met now, would He get the glory or would my efforts?” (Ephesians 2:8-9, Philippians 2:13)

I’ve seen His works over and over in my life. He has given me much more than I deserve. My faith lacks often and when He convicts me of this, I am shamed and return to Him. Sometimes I return quickly. Other times I am stubborn. I still have areas in my life that I haven’t fully given over to Him. These areas still have needs to be met. That sends a sobering message to me. I know it is because I haven’t fully trusted Him to do His works in that part of my life. I know it is because I am trying to do it on my own.  Resolution in that area is being held captive by my pride, my stubbornness, my need for control. I know the needs will never be met until I turn them over to Him. What is left to do but pray and keep returning to the Bible?

One day my pastor was talking about how many times God repeats truth in the Bible. All the times that we read the Word and the texts seems redundant and laborious to get through, I remind myself, what my pastor was pointing out that day. We are slow learners. (Of course the story of the Israelites and their constant waning faith, gives me great comfort. I am not alone.) God reminds us because it is an important message. God reminds us because we need reminding. God reminds us because we are so stubborn and reluctant to hand over our lives to a creator who has proven Himself all powerful and loving. I have to  stay in the Word and remain on bent knee until every part of my life is submitted to Him.

I will continue this discussion in later posts about building faith in your children through answered prayer and also one about a desire our family has for God to keep us on bended knee.

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