“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Phil. 4:6) “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.” (2 Cor. 1:8-9)
Circumstances, even for Paul, circumstances, they do not rule our lives, but they do most assuredly at times interject themselves into it. It is easy to read that verse, it is not so easy to live it when life takes a different course, one that leads into the valley of the shadow of death, one that gives us pause even to the providence of the Lord in our lives.
We as believers are at this point in our lives today, we know something is about to happen, the ones who have been studying the Scriptures cannot tell you what exactly it is, and to tell the truth, we fear to in a degree, a false prophet is not the label we want to attached to ourselves. To say we are not anxious would be a lie, depending on the nation you live in at this moment, things could start to get very bad, all that you have could be lost in an instant, the “new normal” would not be what we would desire. Here is where Jeremiah 29:11 must come into your mind, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
Trust is the same as faith in the mind of the born-again believer, circumstances, at least in the long run, should not affect us, we must be as the Lord said about Job, “And still he holdeth fast his integrity.” (Job 2:3) So then, was Job anxious, nervous if you like, yes for a moment at least, then to put it in the mildest terms I can think of, he got upset. You would too, and that is the point of this letter to you, things in your life may get very bad, and how you handle those moments will determine what the Lord will say about your integrity, for at those times, when the evil befalls us, it is the character of who we believe God to be that becomes self-evident to others.
“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10) If you will read that verse carefully, you will see that those who will be cast into the prison will not be coming out. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Rev. 12:11)
Death, even the thought of it can bring anxiety to us at times, to the lost it is more than fearful, for they know there is more. “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20) To the saved, well, look at what Paul said in our opening verse.
Here is how these thoughts are handled in the world of the lost, the fires in California last year that destroyed thousand of homes and lives, when was the last time you heard anything about these events after they were over, unless you live in the localized vicinity, you have not. Millions affected by floods, by locusts, by any number of things that the Lord is using to warn all who will listen, once the “immediate” disaster is over, the cameras turn elsewhere, advertising executives make no money on happy stories, and the continuation of an event when all that is left is the shortened lives of the individuals that were touched by them serve only as a reminder to those whose greatest fear is that the next “event” may be on their doorstep. Fear sells much better than anxiety.
We are to have neither, we are to trust, to have faith that no matter what arrives on our doorstep, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, that its purpose is to glorify God, and my friends, if you are anxious, you cannot do that.
Job got upset, and I could use much stronger words than that, but not forever, we must do the same. Remember, he said these words long before the Lord came down to have a “little talk” with him. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” (Job 13:15) Prepare yourself to behave accordingly, and with as much integrity.