9/23/2021 5:10:00 AM A Message for Times of Trouble
Hurricanes, Ida and Nicholas; COVID 19 delta strain along with over-crowded hospitals; hospital workers and patients; COVID-19 deaths; flooding in the north; California fires; Afghanistan, Israel and Haiti...and these don’t even begin to touch the personal struggles of individuals with economic and health issues. Job losses and people unwilling to work low-paying jobs are causing economic strain. This has been the most stressful two years I can remember in our nation’s modern history. Without a doubt, we are a nation that needs to breathe. You almost have to laugh or you might cry with all these stressors pressing in on our country. The turmoil can build up and unleash itself on one another in hostility. In fact, hidden rage isn’t so hidden these days.
Those who dwell in the faith community of love will get through this. It is difficult to endure suffering; and yet, the story of Job is just like our times. When all of the losses came upon Job; family, business, and health, even then his friends acted as though his life choices had earned him this trouble. As Job dialogues with God, Job discovers God is not in authority over the universe to change the outcome of his circumstances to Job’s liking. God thunders with his voice and challenges Job, ‘where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth.’ One of the most telling statements in the whole story is when Job admits, ‘I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee face to face.’ God was God before the virus and He will be God after the turmoil of it and the political upheaval are settled. Why should we let our fears drive us when God is still our deliverer? Why should we fret over evildoers? Why should we become discouraged in the circumstances God allows in our lives? Yes, people suffer as did Job, as did those in the early church, as did Jesus. Still, the warning rings softly in our ear, ‘anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and servant of all. Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the One who sent me.’ Love God and love your neighbor seems pretty simple.
Evil, however, comes in three categories; natural, as in disease and weather; moral, as in poor or wrong moral choices; and demonic, as in targeting the destruction of another’s life, as in murder or terrorism. God knows of these occurrences and He is for you and me, and with you and me. Even now more things are on the horizon that will ultimately add to this list of traumatic occurrences listed above. The question is, will you trust in God to know what He is doing even in the face of human beings who do not? This is the challenge of trust.
In the story of Job and the New Testament Church story, both learned to turn to the Lord and trust in Him though the world was seemingly falling apart. ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.’ These words can give you guidance in a world tossed to and fro on the waves of stress. ‘Do not fret because of evildoers, nor envy the workers of iniquity, for they will soon be cut down like grass.’ Hold fast in faith and God will see us through to the reward He has secured for you and me. Thanks be to God.
Passages used, (Job 38:4; Job 42:5; Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalm 37:1,2; Mark 9:35-37) Stanley
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