We are used to being in charge of our own lives but we have realised recently that we cannot be in control of everything. Often we are utterly helpless to either contain or change what is happening. The Corona virus has shown us that but for many itis the issues of normal life - a long term illness that tears away your independence or a broken relationship that cannot be repaired. It may be an addiction that overpowers you but whatever it is the same question remains - where do you go when life control has been torn from your grip and you are frightened?
A Biblical character called Job helps us here. He was a wealthy man who had a happy and close family –everything was going well for him until tragedy struck with a terrible suddenness. He lost his wealth and most of his family members in a terrible space of time that gave him every reason to feel devastated and angry but his response to his trouble showed another approach and it is surprising. Here is a section of that story from the first chapter of Job.
18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, ‘Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the eldest brother’s house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!’
20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I shall depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Verse 21 is a strange response to trouble. He recognised God was still in control despite what was happening and he worshipped him
Don’t measure the character of God by the circumstances of your own life. He works within this sin cursed world but he is not controlled by it. He has an eternal plan that frees people from personal sin and brings them beyond pain and suffering to a place of absolute peace and rest. His promises are not linked to our idea of time but go beyond this life into a time without end.
God wants us to be prepared for eternity. Do you know God’s forgiveness? His absolute promise is for all who believe.
Trouble is not far away from each one of us but what is your response when trouble comes? If you live without God then your hope is like shifting sand but to the one who trusts God there is certainty and safety when the storms of life come.
This is not a theory for the pages of a manual. Real life is marked by impossible difficulties and the pages of the Bible flow with people who faced trials that were beyond their power to cope.
Psalm 56 shows a man troubled by fear. This is his response.
But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
Job is a book in the Old Testament.
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Newry Baptist Church
31-33 Lower Catherine Street