I can remember that sinking feeling when the Falklands crisis started. We had just become a nation at war. How was this all going to work out?
I wondered whether other nations were going to be drawn into the conflict, and whether I would be called up to fight.
How do we cope with huge, insurmountable problems, or dangers?
Jesus said in His ‘End of the world teaching’:
“You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” Matthew 24:6-8 (NIV)
Jesus was saying in effect:- ‘See to it that you are not alarmed, not troubled, nor thrown into confusion.’
For Him to say that, it must be possible. Because, where the heart is locked on to God and is trusting in Him, there will be peace within, Isaiah said to the Lord:
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose mind is steadfast, because they trust in You.” Isaiah 26
We need to keep trouble from the heart.
We are told to expect troubles and hardship, so why be caught off guard when they hit us!
We must not expect an easy, carefree life.
The disciples were to expect the destruction of Jerusalem, because the Jews must be punished, they had rejected God′s Son. God′s justice could not let the situation go on any longer. Jesus said:
“Such things must happen.”
But if our trust is in God, then we shall not be swamped by those waves, we will be safe, and God will work all things together for our good, and the good of His Kingdom.
He is ruling, and working out His purposes, therefore our spirits ought to be calm, because He completes the thing that is appointed for us.
God says in Hebrews (12:27)
“Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”
and the writer comments:
“The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken – that is created things – so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”
When our world is being shaken, we may think that everything is out of control, but for the Christian, God will not let us fall out of His hands.
Or another analogy is that, we have Jesus Christ as our Noah′s Ark in whom we can rest and be secure.
While the whole world may seem to be uprooted, we can have our security in our God.
The Apostle Paul speaks of his hardships:
“To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.” (1 Corinthians 4:11)
Was Paul′s heart full of worry and fear, so that he became overwhelmed? No, he trusted in God, and he tried to be obedient to Him, in all his situations.
Despite all these afflictions, Paul would glorify Christ.
And even in all these sufferings, God′s purpose was being worked out, multitudes of people were being saved.
Paul didn′t live to get pleasure on this earth now, his whole motivation was for the glory of God.
In all this turmoil, and pain, Paul could trust God to work out His purposes, therefore he was not going to allow his heart to be alarmed, or to be filled up with worry.
He was going to submit to Almighty God, who is seated upon the Eternal Throne, who forever reigns, and no one can thwart His plans.
Even the Lord Jesus Christ during His agony and suffering put His mind onto eternal things.
Another thing to remind ourselves is that:
“All these things are the beginning of birth-pains.”
This old world is experiencing more frequent contractions, and God will bring to being a new creation.
But for now we are caught up with these birth pangs, the earthquakes, and other troubles.
But a NEW heaven and new earth is coming, where we will be His people, and God Himself will be with us, He will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning, or crying or pain, for the old order of things will have passed away. And He who is seated on the throne said:
“I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21)
Bowman image: thanks to GSP 100,000 clipart CD