Last week was a stressful week. Work has already been stressful lately (which has been literally giving me headaches), but with the metal prices low, the company I worked for had to take some measures to reduce costs (I work for a zinc mine). One of those measures included some layoffs. Thank God I was not one of them, but I don’t know what the future holds in the years to come. I have been planning a mission trip to Haiti for some time now. Plans were to leave the end of this month. But, I received a call that there is some civil unrest there and demonstrations were planned for the time I would be going there. So, missionaries decided to cancel any mission trips during that time for obvious safety concerns. The good news is that they are going to have a mission team going there mid-December and they were hoping that I could go then. This was good news, but it also meant rescheduling flights and canceling hotel rooms. All in all, this would add to the cost and I will be sleeping in the airport for the overnight layover because the hotel room was non-refundable. I purchased travel insurance, but it did not cover this circumstance. I know that God always works things out for good and His timing is right, but it did leave me with doubt, frustration, discouragement and wondering what I did wrong, or if He was testing my faith or if the devil was trying to keep me from going or working on my mind to lose faith or be distracted or keep from doing what God wants me to do, or…or…or…
I had a long talk with my wife about this. She always tells me that I don’t express my feelings, but it was a chance for me to do just that (afterwards I made a point to remind her that I shared my feelings with her!) It was good to talk it out and she reminded me that God wouldn’t punish me though he does correct, that sometimes circumstances just happen, that not everything is spiritual warfare. I knew that. But I think I just needed to hear it. Although the devil may not necessarily put circumstances in your way (though sometimes he might try to), he will use trials to get into your head. I also know that God is always with me, He gives me strength and He answers my prayers. I also know that I must always seek Him and seek His will. So, I prayed and I read God’s word to give me strength and encouragement. These are some of the things I learned (I already knew much of this, but I needed to be reminded of them).
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Through our trials, we need to remember that God is with us and He will get us through them. We need to pray for strength and for wisdom. He will give us those things if we ask, He will guide in times of trouble, and we will be stronger when we get through them.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say:
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?”
As we go through our struggles, when things don’t work the way we would like, when hardships come, remember what Jesus went through so that we can be saved, our sins forgiven and we are given eternal life. Through His death, through His blood, we are saved, through His resurrection and life he gives us strength, removes our guilt and fear and gives us faith and hope.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.
All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
In Christ, we have nothing to fear or to worry about. We can be content with whatever life gives us. He will give us rest. He will give us comfort. God is in control and He always makes things right, in His will, in His timing. We must always seek Him first and trust Him do His work in us.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.
Honor the LORD with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine.
My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor detest His correction;
For whom the LORD loves He corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
The devil hates when we use our faith and trust in God. He knows he is defeated. We have victory in Christ. We have the Holy Spirit in us. If we trust in God, He will give us everything we need to overcome anything our adversary throws at us (see also Ephesians 6:10-20).
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
1 Peter 5:6-11
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.