Posts Tagged ‘faith’

What Scares You?

The woes of the stock market, the concerns over political unrest in the world, the anticipation of the next election and the whereabouts of Casey Anthony seemed to take a major backseat in the media and our minds this week as we dealt with more immediate and pressing concerns. Mother Nature refusing to be upstaged gained the center place of attention as she tossed up a 5.6 earthquake, a monstrous 600 mile wide hurricane and a few tornadoes for icing on the cake. Suddenly the normal dismal news fare didn’t seem quite as important as worries shifted from the economy, politics and terrorism to personal survival. It would seem that man-made calamity has nothing on natural catastrophic occurrences.

Where then is God in all of this? Why would a loving God allow such frightening things to assail us? These are the ever popular questions of the day offered up by those who want to question the actual existence of God or by those who have yet to grown close enough to Him to understand His ways. Our nature cries for answers and we are prone to find them on our own without any help from the One we dare to question. How about the truth? If you are tempted to ask where God is, you may be interested to know that He is right there in the middle of it all. He’s never far and always close by. If you could travel to the farthest planet you would be no further away from Him and yet no closer. His ways are not our ways (Is.55:8). Do not lean on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). Be anxious for nothing (Phil.4:6). These are just a few verses that begin to reveal His nature and character. Wise men still seek Him. To truly find the answer to such questions we must seek Him, this is His desire. He can be found through His Word and in prayer. He is faithful. (1Cor.1:9).

The natural mind always wants God to change the circumstances. As we gain more knowledge of His person we will discover that He is more likely to change our perspective about things which will often lead us to change our circumstances or live above them. Many times the scripture tells us to “fear not”. The natural mind cannot cast off fear but through the supernatural power of His presence we can substitute faith for fear. Scripture speaks of the “peace that passes all understanding” (Phil.4:7). We can only get there by means that we do not truly understand, that’s why it is supernatural. The natural mind cannot understand things that are spiritual (1Cor.2:14).

The question therefore is not where is God? The question is where are we? The follow-up question is what can we control? If our worry and concern could truly impact any one particular circumstance, let’s say a hurricane, we still would not begin to posses the capacity to worry about all of life’s other concerns. Only God is “all-knowing” and able to deal with every circumstance known to mankind simultaneously. The secret to a joyful and healthy life on this earth is simply to place your trust in the one true God. He has provided the only way and that is faith in Jesus Christ. Only He can save us from ourselves and from the power of a fallen world. Neither man-made calamity nor the phenomenon of nature can separate us from His love for us. Just maybe He has allowed some of these circumstances to enter our world that He may gain our attention. Has he gained yours?


Life in the Rear-view Mirror

          szo0343One thing is certain, life is forever changing. Each season of life presents new challenges, emotions and its own share of confusion. Just when we think we have figured it out a whole new set of circumstances comes along and presents us with a new and sometimes different view of life than what we had expected or maybe even desired. This has never been truer for so many Americans than during the past few years.

          While there are those natural seasons that life passes through such as the dating season, the child rearing season and the empty nest season, there are also those external circumstances that can alter life’s path. Financial issues, health issues, job changes, relocation, family concerns and a host of other possibilities may come along and upset our apple cart causing us worry and stress, producing a level of anxiety we would much rather avoid. It is during these moments when we are tempted to reflect back on a happier more stable time. We may long for life to be the way it used to during “the good old days”.

          It is our human nature to long to go back. We desire to return to the comfort of an existence that is familiar. Sometimes that existence may not have been all that wonderful but it was one we understood. When God delivered the nation of Israel out of the land of Egypt and into the wilderness, their view of life changed dramatically. After four hundred years of captivity He freed them and intended to take them to the “Promised Land” but they soon felt challenged, bewildered and afraid. They longed to return to their life in Egypt. (Num.14:4) Human nature caused them to desire their previous life of hardship rather than to obey and trust God to cross the Jordan River and receive their inheritance, a land flowing of milk and honey. Because of their disobedience God caused them to wander in the desert for forty years. It would be the next generation that would cross over and inhabit the paradise chosen by God for His people.

          Looking in the rear view mirror may give us a distorted view of the past. While I think memories are healthy and wonderful (I personally love nostalgia) we must be careful not to focus too intently on life as it was. Such a focus may cause us to remember only the more pleasant aspects while forgetting the unpleasant ones. Worse, it may cause us to miss what God is trying to do in our lives because we are too busy wishing to recreate the past rather than trusting in His promises. Only by understanding our own nature can we come to a place of faith and trust in His nature. Reliance upon human nature will only cause us to continually repeat the mistakes of the past. The nation of Israel repeated the same mistake time and time again until they were completely disbanded and disbursed as a nation in 70 AD. They were scattered all over the world from that time until May 14th, 1948 when once again they became a nation. This was the fulfillment of prophecy in accordance with God’s Holy Word.

          His plan always is the best plan. His promises never fail. If we gaze too intently in the rear-view mirror while navigating the highway of life we are heading for calamity. Choose to look forward in expectation of what might be rather than what has been. Faith requires us to move forward without seeing. Faith requires us to trust God for the future. In the words of Jesus (Luke 9:62) “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Actually, two things are certain. Life always changes, and God is always never does.