Where I am sitting and writing this letter to you this early evening, it is warm and still sunny, it is quiet, for the most part, and as a whole, life is peaceful. There are places in the world, perhaps as you are reading this, that are in turmoil, both by the causes of man and the forces of nature that Almighty God has created. Tell me, in which place do you feel closer, as it were, to the Lord.
The land of milk and honey promised to the children of Abraham throughout the Scriptures was spoken of in ways that inferred peace, (Exo. 33:3) safety from enemies, food a plenty, security because of the hand of God upon His chosen ones, turmoil and the lack of that peace arrived though when they separated themselves from the commandments of God. There is a peace that passeth all understanding, (Phil. 4:7) circumstances have little effect on this peace, the immediate holds no power over it, the fear arrives, and in the next moment is gone, the One who inhabits eternity enters into our thoughts, and the peace returns, or at least it should.
It is easy to converse about the troubles of the world when it is warm and the day is full of sunshine, but when black clouds appear on the horizon far too many times we falter, the doubts creep in, our emotions begin to take over, the place of abiding faith departs from us. I would like you to ponder a question if you would please, if you could not die, if you were immortal and knew nothing of the word pain, either physical or emotional, what would you fear, what would cause you to pause before you took those first few steps into the fray, into the battle. The world calls this courage, the ability to face our fears and continue to move on through them, we used to call them heroes, but that word has taken on an entirely new context as of late, mediocrity is celebrated, and the placement of the word “hero” has been given to those who shame its meaning in comparison.
The subject matter is relative, for I believe, and rightly so, that the word should never be referenced outside of Jesus Christ, no different than the title “King of Kings, And LORD of Lords,” (Rev. 19:16) or the title Sovereign. Our Lord is the only One who is allowed and has the right to sign His name with a capital G. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:41) This is why we feel closer to Christ in different circumstances, the deceitful lies of Satan in the garden of Eden were meant to perform one simple task, break the bond of fellowship between God and man, let the choice to see be placed upon them, take away security and replace it with shame. In one moment Adam knew Him as friend, in the next he was hiding from God Almighty, and my friends if you will notice it was in the cool of the day, (Gen. 3:8) not in the middle of a severe thunderstorm.
The confidence that some Christians have in their relationship to the Lord God is based far too often on the current circumstances of their lives, they take their eyes off the prize that is Jesus Christ, (Phil. 3:14) and allow the world to deter their faith. For some, the calm assurance flees from them at the first raindrop, they seek shelter in every place but the One they should run to. These moments are many times allowed by our Lord to show us where we stand in our hearts toward Him, they are brought upon us to assist us in our trust of Him, but far too often we fail miserably, instead of crying out to Him, instead of trusting in His eternal promises, we fear the onslaught of the pain of the flesh, the pain of our emotions, we fear death.
The one way that is appointed unto all men, (Heb. 9:27) saved or lost, is the one, even for many Christians, that is feared the most. We will trust Him on those cool summer evenings, when no war is nearby, when the sky begins to turn azure blue and then crimson red, but doubts come on those stormy nights.
The Psalms say that “Joy cometh in the morning,” (30:5) Jesus said that He came that our “joy might be full.” (John 15:11) There is a calm assurance in the lives of those who have truly placed the entirety of their faith in Christ, circumstances have no long term effect on them, the condition of the world is as it should be, sinful and depraved, and is accepted as normal by them who know Him as Lord. They have one thing that many who profess Christ do not seem to realize, they are immortal, they have believed the promises, they know for a fact that where He is we will be, because His promises are true, and He is faithful. The spiritual mind that continuously concerns itself with the world, with the cares of the flesh and the path the planet of lost souls have placed themselves on will know little rest here, they will continue to pay more attention to that world than the one to come, and so, when the storm clouds appear, they will run for shelter, but not to the Strong Tower that is God Almighty, (Prov. 18:10) not to the Rock of our salvation.
All men fear at times, it is the length of that time that informs them of the current state of their spiritual maturity, the path they will take when adversity arrives. There are paths set before us that we have no desire to walk upon, some will be through darkness and pain, others will be into the brightness of the day with peace, both should bring joy and assurance, because it is Christ Himself who walks with you. “I will never leave thee, not forsake thee.” (Heb. 13:5)