In These Uncertain Times

Are you concerned about what's going on in our world, especially the past couple of weeks? Are you concerned that Russia is advancing on Ukraine, with threats to anyone else in the world who lends assistance to the Ukrainian fight to defend itself? Are you concerned about the price of gasoline leaping every day, and combined with inflation, whether or not you will be able to afford to go to work? Perhaps you are more concerned about what is or is not being done by our 'leaders' regarding all of these! Are you concerned about other daily issues, or maybe you are facing something huge on a personal level that just affects your own life/family?

While all of us would like for God to provide a wall of protection from all things bad in our lives, God doesn't work like that. We live and breathe in this physical world just like everybody else, so we face the same issues, and the same physical consequences.

In times like these, when it seems things are crazy out of control, one of three things happens. People either draw closer to God, seeking His intervention, or they remain basically neutral, not moving closer to God or further away, or the last, obviously moving further away from God.

History will tell us that for the Christian, times of hardship and persecution normally bring believers closer to God, because we cry out to Him more frequently and with more genuine desire for Him to intervene. We see our limitations and know He has all power, and we call on that power often turning it all over to Him because we have nothing left in and of ourselves to give (James 5:16).

Many people who don't have any faith to begin with, who fail to recognize God's ability to effect change, will do nothing different. They will suffer through whatever the situation is without prayer and petition or any belief that the supernatural can lend a hand. For them it's just another day, only to be played out by man's rules.

Sadly, sometimes Christians and non-Christians alike will move further away in bad times. I once knew a fellow who left to go to college to be a preacher, only to come home practicing idolatry to Buddha, renouncing God, deeply involved in pornography and participating in excess to several bad habits. He was older than I was as I was still in high school when he finished college, but I asked him why. His reply was that when He needed God the most, God wasn't there! I only wish I had been more mature then to discuss that with him, that God doesn't distance Himself from man, but man does the distancing (Eph 1:4, Rom 6:5, Rom 5:20, 1 Peter 2:24, Rom 5:8, John 3:16) Yet many people believe God abandons them when the going gets tough.

God may not choose to intervene, He may let things play out by man's rules at times, but it isn't because He has abandon us. Scripture tells us plainly in several places that He will never leave or forsake His Saints (Heb 13:5, Matt 28:20). He does sometimes however, use bad situations to further His cause, and His plans may be spread out over so many years that we will never understand it this side of eternity.

I pray that troublesome times like these cause you to reflect on what you know about our God, and that they will actually strengthen you within and grow both your prayer life and your faith. The first chapter of James speaks to that (James 1:1-12) We will have to endure the hardship(s) alongside everybody else in this life, but not as one who has no hope, but as one whose hope is re-affirmed and strengthened through trials.

We were never promised that life would be easy, but we can rest assured that God will be with us through whatever may come our way. "Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown." (Rev 2:10)