Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

Search Results for: storm

Wednesday

26

January 2022

0

COMMENTS

Surviving the storm, part 2

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

How many times in the storm do we miss shelter because we don't petition the very One who calms the storm we are stuck in? | Read more about surviving the storm on hopereflected.com

In the storm, how can we remember the presence of God?

Spurgeon said, “The Christian is made strong and firmly rooted by all the trials and storms of life.” We can only be made strong and firmly rooted when our foundation is sure. After the disciples call out to Christ, “saying, Lord, save us: we perish.” (Matthew 8:25), Jesus questions them, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26). For the Christian, fear and faith cannot coexist. Ultimately, one will overpower the other. Matthew Henry wrote, “How imperfect are the best of saints! Faith and fear take their turns while we are in this world; but ere long, fear will be overcome, and faith will be lost in sight.”

The very One who calms the storm

Jesus then “…arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.” (Matthew 8:26). How many times in the storm do we miss shelter because we don’t petition the very One who calms the storm we are stuck in? “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.” David wrote in Psalm 61:1-4. “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.” When it storms, birds protect their babies from the wind and rain by covering them with their wings. God, in His great care for us, does the same, offering us shelter under the cover of His loving arms. Does our cry come unto Him first, or do we exhaust our own devices and strength before seeking His shelter?

"Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer... For thou hast been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy." (Psalm 61: 1, 3) | Read more about surviving the storm on hopereflected.com

In the midst of the storm, God is still in control

Sometimes this is hard to believe, but it is true. In His timing, He will arise, and He will rebuke the winds and sea that are tossing us about. We need only “Be still” and rest in the knowledge that He is in control (Psalm 46:10). When someone is stuck in the water, or in danger of drowning, the worst thing they can do is to panic. But that’s our human instinct. We fight to keep our head above the waves, we struggle to swim. It seems senseless to try to remain still and breathe deeply even though these are two of the ways that can help us stay afloat. We are instructed throughout the Bible to “Be still,” (Psalm 46:10), to “rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him,” (Psalm 37:7). Even in the midst of the storm when it doesn’t make sense, we need to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not on thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5).

“But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this,

that even the winds and the sea obey him!”

Matthew 8:27

When we’re tempted to worry, may we marvel instead that the One who controls the winds and the sea cares for us. “But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” (Matthew 8:27). The bigger God is to us, the smaller the storm will seem.

Originally published as “Surviving the storm, part two.” Independent Plus. September 16, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Read part one of Surviving the storm here.

Monday

24

January 2022

0

COMMENTS

Surviving the storm, part one

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be trouble, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah." (Psalm 46:1-3) | Read more about surviving the storm on hopereflected.com

Storms can make us ask all kinds of questions

“Why would a good God allow this to happen to me?”

“What is the point to this?”

“Where do I go from here?”

“How did I get here?”

“Who would have ever thought this would happen?”

Storms have a way of making us wax existential and ask some serious questions of our Creator.

The disciples had questions too, after they ended up in a great storm whilst traveling with Jesus. "Master, carest thou not that we perish?" (Mark 4:38). Read more of surviving the storm on hopereflected.com

The disciples had questions too

The disciples had questions too after they ended up in a great storm whilst traveling with Jesus.

“Master, carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38).

What a question to ask, especially on the heels of the miracles Jesus had just performed, healing a leper, a centurion’s son, and even Peter’s mother-in-law! One would think that by witnessing Christ’s healing power firsthand that the disciples would have no doubt of His love for them, and yet, they asked, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?”

Be prepared for rough waters

We can learn so much from the accounts of Jesus calming the storm in Matthew 8, Mark 4, and Luke 8. When we follow Christ, we ought to be prepared for rough waters. “And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.” (Matthew 8:23).

If we’re following Christ because we think by doing so we’ll be exempt from troubles, think again! Before the disciples followed Him on to the ship, what did Jesus say? “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:14).

Following Christ is not for the faint of heart.

Troubled waters need not trouble us, because God is a very present help in any kind of trouble. Read more of surviving the storm on hopereflected.com

Comfort in the storm

What a comfort that God is not worried about the storms that we’re going through. God is not worried about the waves washing on board our ships. “And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.” (Matthew 8:24). God already knows what we are going through.

The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 46:1-3, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” Troubled waters need not trouble us, because God is a very present help in any kind of trouble.

“Troubled waters need not trouble us, because God is a very present help in any kind of trouble.”

Hope Reflected

Charles Spurgeon famously said, “I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me up against the Rock of Ages.” In the midst of the storm, are we coming to the only One who can save us?

“And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.” (Matthew 8:25). He hears our petitions; He wants us to come to Him! We should never let the presence of a storm cause us to doubt the very presence of God.

Originally published as “Surviving the storm, part one.” Independent Plus. September 9, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Thursday

7

October 2021

0

COMMENTS

Sent into stormy seas

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Even the most experienced among us will at times struggle through the storm. The disciples at least kept rowing; do we? | Read more at hopereflected.com

“And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.” (Matthew 14:21)

When we read the account of Jesus walking on the water, we usually focus on the miracle itself, and Peter’s attempt to come meet Him. We don’t always consider how the disciples got out into the storm-tossed sea in the first place.

After the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus instructed His disciples to get into a ship and to go before Him to the other side of the sea. “And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples,” we read in Matthew 14. Other versions of the Bible say that Jesus “made the disciples” get in the ship (NIV), and that Jesus “insisted” that His disciples go on before Him (MSG). Our all-knowing God sent His disciples out into the sea when He knew there was a storm coming and that the water would be rough. God is not surprised by the storms that we encounter, or by any clouds under which we’re living that just seem to keep lingering and pouring on us day after day.

"And he saw the toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary to unto them:" (Mark 6:48a) | Read more of Sent into stormy seas on hopereflected.com

The disciples weren’t inexperienced boaters

These were men among whom were true fishermen, making their living on the water. They would have been accustomed to unsettled waters and known how to handle the ship when it was “tossed with waves” (Matt. 14:24). We read in Mark however that Jesus saw the disciples “toiling in rowing,” (Mark 6:48). Even the most experienced among us will at times struggle through the storm. The disciples at least kept rowing; do we? Joseph Benson wrote, “Though the wind was contrary, and they were tossed with the waves, yet being ordered by their Master to the other side, they did not tack about and come back again, but made the best of their way forward.”

How do we make the best of the way forward when we’re in the middle of the storm?

Like the disciples, we keep pressing on. When the disciples were stuck on the sea in the storm, “they willingly received him into the ship” (John 6:21). It’s integral as we keep going to draw on the Lord’s strength, that we willingly receive Him into our ship. Relying on our own strength will only lead to self-destruction. 

"Though the wind was contrary, and they were tossed with the waves, yet being ordered by their Master to the other side, they did not tack about and come back again, but made the best of their way forward." Joseph Benson | Read more of Sent into stormy seas on hopereflected.com

“The world can create trouble in peace,

but God can create peace in trouble.”

Thomas Watson

Puritan preacher Thomas Watson said that “If God be our God, He will give us peace in trouble. When there is a storm without, He will make peace within. The world can create trouble in peace, but God can create peace in trouble.” When we’re being tossed about in the heart of raging waters and stormy seas, to say it’s hard to keep our focus on Him rather than the waves is an understatement. And yet, this is what we are called to do. In the middle of the storm, God says to us, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” (Matt. 14:27). He who sends us into stormy seas will provide a way through.

Originally published as “Sent into stormy seas.” Independent Plus. May 13, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Friday

28

July 2017

0

COMMENTS

Hope Reflected | Through the storm

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"In the time of trouble, He shall hide me." Psalm 27:5 | Through the storm See more at hopereflected.com

Through the storm

Sometimes in life it may seem as though you’re going through everything at once – professionally, personally, and internally – and it’s during times such as these, when you’re in the middle of the storms, that it’s important to remember that storms are only temporary. It is in the storms that we have the ability to grow the most – and to grow closer to God.

How many times have we read in the book of Exodus how God parted the Red Sea for Moses, allowing the Israelites to walk across on dry ground and cross to safety while being pursued by their enemies? We’ve heard the event shared time after time, and it’s easy to become desensitized to the significance of this account. “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.” (Exodus 14:21-22)

Anything stand out to you about this selection of scripture? It says that God divided the waters of the Red Sea for the Israelites so they could cross to safety. Author Brad Wilcox puts it like this: “God did not remove the Red Sea, He opened it: He will help us find a way through our problems as well.” Sometimes we can hear a truth over and over again, but until it’s explained in the simplest of terms, we don’t understand the breadth of it.

God’s not necessarily going to remove our problems, but He has promised to help us through whatever storms we’re facing. God didn’t remove the Red Sea or eliminate it from the picture; He divided it and helped the Israelites through it.

Consider also how many times reading through the psalms that perhaps you’ve breezed over the sacred truth David wrote in Psalm 27:5: “for in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.” In the Old Testament tabernacle, the secret place of the tabernacle was sacred. Only the High Priest was permitted to enter the secret place of the tabernacle, and even then only once per year. Imagine the significance of David to say in Psalm 27:5 that in the time of trouble, God hides him in the secret place of His tabernacle!

What’s amazing is that David wasn’t the only one who could say this. In the time of trouble – and any time – God hides us in the secret place of His tabernacle. He wants to take us in and protect us; all we have to do is put our trust in Him. Whatever problems you’re facing and whatever storms you’re battening down to get through, you don’t have to face them alone.

You may be skeptical and think that it won’t make a difference if you put your trust in God. But consider this – God’s not worried about the storm because He controls it, so who better to trust in and focus on? “Then he got in the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!’” Rather than putting your focus on the furiousness of the storm, put your focus on the One Who controls the storm.

Originally published as “Through the storm.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. July 13, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

Thursday

11

August 2022

0

COMMENTS

Flip the switch

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Even on days when we can’t see the sun in the sky, the sun is still shining.

One sun enlightens the whole world; so does one Christ, and there needs no more. What a dark dungeon would the world be without the sun! (Matthew Henry) Read more on hopereflected.com

There is always light

There is always light. It may be blocked from our view by clouds and storm systems, some days may be duller than others, but the sun is still shining. And as big as our world seems, the sun is bigger still, and is earth’s main source of light. Matthew Henry wrote that, “One sun enlightens the whole world; so does one Christ, and there needs no more. What a dark dungeon would the world be without the sun!”

Unfortunately, many are trapped in a dark dungeon. “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.” (Proverbs 4:19). Before we come to Christ and confess our deep need for His light, we are stuck in the dark.

Reaching for the Light

Throughout the Psalms, David refers to God as the one who provides light for the darkness (Psalm 18:28), enlarges his steps (Psalm 18:36), and lights his path (Psalm 119:105). Unless and until we confess our desperate need for a Saviour, we remain in the dark. That’s not a good place to be. “Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;” (Psalm 107:10). Affliction, chains, and death; what a way to go through life! We all know what it’s like to stumble around in the darkness, and it usually involves stubbing our toe on a night stand or walking headfirst into a door jam. When we’re in the dark and we have the option of turning on a light, do we not reach for the nearest light switch so we can see what we’re doing and where we’re going?

The Light of the world

So why do so many of us insist on stumbling through life in the dark, when we’ve got immediate access to the light? “I am the light of the world:” Jesus said, “he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12). In the book of John alone, there are eight references that I can find where Jesus is referred to as the light of the world. With Christ, we’re promised that we won’t walk in darkness.

“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me

shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

John 8:12

Perhaps you feel as though you’re stuck in the dark and though you’ve been grasping and groping in the dark, you can’t find the light switch. The practical, immediate way to access the light? The Bible. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105). When we allow God’s Word to be our guide, He keeps us on the right path, so we don’t stub our toes or walk headfirst into obstacles.

Light casts out darkness, provides direction, and dissolves discouragement.

Need some light in your life? Read more about the importance of light here.

Originally published as “Flip the switch.” Independent Plus. February 17, 2022: 5. Print. Web.

Tuesday

7

June 2022

0

COMMENTS

A glimpse of sunshine

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Even though the outlook appears bleak, the goodness of the Lord can still be seen in the land of the living.

...no times are so wild but that in them are quiet corners, green oases, all the greener for their surroundings, where life glides on in peaceful isolation from the tumult. (Alexander MacLaren) | Read more of A Glimpse of Sunshine on hopereflected.com

“Every man did that which was right in his own eyes,” (Judges 17:6, 21:25). The book of Judges depicts a bleak and black history of Israel, one where man was doing what man wanted, where truth was twisted to suit selfish inclinations, and where God was not forgotten, but purposefully rebelled against. It sounds eerily similar to our present situation.

But God, in His tender mercy and grace, was still very much present among the profanity happening in Israel, just as He is today. Within the book of Judges we see reminders of this, that though man may seem to rule for a season, the Lord is the ultimate judge (11:27). Even though the outlook appears bleak, the goodness of the Lord can still be seen in the land of the living.

There can still be peace within us

Take Ruth, for example. Tucked away within the times of the judges of Israel, Ruth’s history serves as a reminder that though there may be unrest in the world, there can still be peace within us, and there are always glimmers of God’s grace around us. Alexander MacLaren wrote that “no times are so wild but that in them are quiet corners, green oases, all the greener for their surroundings, where life glides on in peaceful isolation from the tumult.”

Although days are dark and times are tumultuous, like Ruth, we can be beacons of light to those around us. Ruth was a Moabitess, the Moabites of which were enemies of Israel and certainly not godly by any stretch of the imagination. And yet we see in history that Ruth is an ancestor of Christ, a prominent member of His lineage. Thank God for His grace! Our past does not determine our future. When we know God, He works all things together for good (Romans 8:28). Rather than being preoccupied by our past, in Christ we can move forward and face the future with fearlessness.

Stand firm and resolute

Nowhere do we read that Ruth was afraid of what the people of Bethlehem would think of her or say about her. Rather, the Bible tells us of Ruth’s unwavering loyalty. “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17). Even in the face of opposition, Ruth stood firm and resolute. Do we stand firm and resolute, even though noise comes at us from every side and current events contradict what is true and right? Is our loyalty to God unwavering?

“Even in the face of opposition, Ruth stood firm and resolute.”

Hope Reflected

Ruth showed a quiet strength, and lived with humility. She worked cheerfully, gleaning in the fields. The big picture didn’t need to be revealed to her in order for her to be diligent and faithful in the little things. God is the Painter and our life is the picture. As Ruth’s testimony is a glimpse of sunshine in an otherwise stormy sky, may others see His light through us in dark times.

Originally published as “A glimpse of sunshine.” Independent Plus. January 21, 2022: 5. Print. Web.

Tuesday

8

February 2022

0

COMMENTS

At the helm: God makes things still

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow:" (Mark 4:37-38) Read more of At the Helm on hopereflected.com

Striving, not being still

Although it was night and He had just spent the day preaching, Jesus suggested traveling across the sea with the disciples. A great storm arose, and the ship filled up fast (Mark 4:37). In this storm, Jesus  “was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow:” (Mark 4:38).

The disciples had an initial reaction of panic. “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” they questioned (v. 38). In any storm where we face unknowns, things that are out of our control, our first reaction – unfortunately – is not to be still. Usually we run about, trying to take matters into our own hands and figure things out. We find ourselves striving, not being still.

The first thing we should do

And yet, Scripture says to be still is the first thing that we should do. “Be still, and know that I am God:” (Psalm 46:10). Before verse 10, Psalm 46 reminds us that God is “a very present help in trouble” (v. 1). “Very present,” meaning that He’s right there, He is always with us, He’s always in the boat with us, at the helm, even when we – like the disciples – are panicking and wondering why He’s not panicking.

We're quick to observe Jesus sleeping. We forget that He is in the hinder part of the ship, right in the captain's place. He's always at the helm, even when we think He's not paying attention, or we wonder why He's sleeping. Read more of At the Helm on hopereflected.com

When you pass through the waters

In the prophecy of Isaiah, our Lord said, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” (Isaiah 43:2). He did not say, “If you go through the waters,” or “if you go through the rivers, or “If you walk through the fire,” He said “When”.

As much as we’d like to deny it, storms and troubles are a part of this life, but God is with us. We are created for His glory. When things are not going our way, it’s a reminder that His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). God uses the rivers to make the rocks smooth and He uses the fire to make the metal pliable.

Prayer is how we get His attention. Read more of At the Helm on hopereflected.com

He’s always at the helm

Like the disciples, we’re quick to observe Jesus sleeping, and we forget that He is “in the hinder part of the ship”, right in the captain’s place. He’s always at the helm, even when we think He’s not paying attention, or we wonder why He’s sleeping. How can we get His attention?

The disciples woke Him by talking to Him. In storms and troubles, are we talking to Him first or using prayer as our last resort? When the disciples spoke to Him, Jesus got up, “and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:39).

“He maketh the storm a calm,

so that the waves thereof are still.”

Psalm 107:29

It is God that makes things still. “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.” (Psalm 107:29). As Matthew Henry wrote, “A word of comfort to us, that, be the storm of trouble ever so loud, ever so strong, Jesus Christ can lay it with a word’s speaking… He that made the seas, can make them quiet.”

Originally published as “In the hinder part of the ship.” Independent Plus. October 21, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Read more about how to trust Jesus in the storm here.

Friday

10

December 2021

0

COMMENTS

The Lord has His way

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

“The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power… the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.” (Nahum 1:3)

"Wherever this Christmas season finds us, may we remember that the Lord has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm (Nahum 1:3). Read more on hopereflected.com

Even in the midst of circumstances that we don’t understand, even when it seems that everything is being thrown at us, and even during trying times when we long to grasp God’s purpose, He is working. “…the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm…” When we are being thrown about, tossed and turned, the Lord still has His way.

Our response during the whirlwind and the storm is important. That is not to say that it’s wrong to be troubled, or that it’s wrong to ask questions. Take Mary for example.

Mary trusted the Lord. "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." (Luke 1:38). Read more on hopereflected.com

Mary had questions

In Luke 1, when the angel Gabriel is sent by God to share with Mary that she will conceive and birth Jesus, we read that Mary “cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.” (v. 29) and was troubled at Gabriel’s words (v. 29). Rather than be flattered, Mary was confounded. “How shall this be?” she asked Gabriel (v. 34). After Gabriel’s explanation, Mary ultimately accepted the responsibility, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (v. 38).

Mary sought godly counsel

Immediately following her encounter with the angel, Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth (v. 39), where she found encouragement from Elizabeth regarding what had transpired. As Matthew Henry wrote, “Sometimes it may prove a better piece of service that we think to bring good people together, to compare notes.” During the whirlwind and the storm, when we find ourselves questioning what is going on, it’s wise to seek godly counsel from trusted Christian family and friends. It’s encouraging to be enveloped in prayer by fellow believers. It’s reassuring to know that we are not alone.

Mary was faithful and "kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart." (Luke 2:19). Read more on hopereflected.com

Mary was faithful

When it came time to give birth to the Messiah, Mary brought Jesus forth “and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7). Imagine, hearing from an angel that God has chosen you to deliver the Son of God, of whose kingdom there shall be no end, and then delivering him in a seemingly sad surrounding. If we were in Mary’s place, we would likely have images of grandeur in our minds; thoughts of huge celebration, attention showering, rejoicing, and gifts.

Talk about underwhelming; imagine Mary’s thoughts as she birthed our Lord, wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger – used to hold animal feed, likely in a stable or just outside. Was she disappointed, or upset? Evidently Mary didn’t become overly emotional, but rather “kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” (2:19). Mary remained faithful.

“Wherever this Christmas season finds us – in the whirlwind or in the storm – may we remember that the Lord has His way.”

Hope Reflected

C.S. Lewis wrote that, “Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace in difficulties.” Wherever this Christmas season finds us – in the whirlwind or in the storm – may we remember that the Lord has His way. And may we be faithful like Mary, even when things don’t quite go as we plan, and even when we don’t understand.

Originally published as “The Lord has His way.” Independent Plus. December 10, 2020: 5. Print. Web.

Friday

19

November 2021

0

COMMENTS

Our task in tribulation

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ...Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." Romans 8:35, 37 Read more on hopereflected.com

There’s only one way to be encouraged in tribulation

We should not endeavour to evade tribulation; we should expect tribulation in this life. In the Acts of the Apostles, we read that though they endured many trying times, they encouraged believers to continue in their faith and expect tribulation (Acts 14:21-22). Matthew Henry wrote that in our Christian walk, “we must count upon much tribulation, but it is encouragement that we shall not be lost and perish in it.” There is only one way to be encouraged in tribulation, and that is to keep our eyes on Christ.

Paul wrote in Romans that “we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:3).

How Christ develops and grows our faith

Our task in tribulation is to glory in it, because through tribulation, Christ develops and grows our faith. Charles Spurgeon said that, “As God more fully equips your ship to sail in storms, He will send you on longer voyages to more boisterous seas, so that you may honour Him and increase in holy confidence.” Christ knew a storm was coming when He sent the disciples out to sea; He will not leave us helpless.

As we read in Romans 5 that tribulation works patience, this is another part of our task. We are to be patient. Jesus said that, “In your patience possess ye your souls.” (Luke 21:19). It is part of our Christian duty to be patient in tribulation, as Paul wrote in Romans 12:12. What a test, especially for those of us who so often struggle to rest in Him. “Only lovers of the Lord will hold out in the hour of trial;” Spurgeon said, “the rest will either sink or sulk, or slink back to the world.” In tribulation, we choose to either sit tight or sink.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God

Our task in tribulation may at times seem impossible, especially when we can’t see Christ through the storm. If we could only remember that through Christ we will overcome our obstacles. As Paul wrote, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (Romans 8:35,37). Not even our most troubling tribulation can separate us from the love of God. This truth is what enables us to glory in tribulation and to be patient in it.

“There is no stumbling when a man walks with his eyes up to Jesus. He that looks at Christ walks safely.”

Charles Spurgeon

“CHRISTIAN! In all thy troubles, look unto God, and be saved. In all thy trials and afflictions, look unto Christ, and find deliverance. In all thine agony, in all thy repentance for thy guilt, look unto Christ, and find pardon. Remember to put thine eyes heavenward, and thine heart heavenward too. Bind round thyself a golden chain, and put one link of it in the staple of heaven. Look unto Christ; fear not. There is no stumbling when a man walks with his eyes up to Jesus. He that looks at Christ walks safely.” (Spurgeon).

Originally published as “Our task in tribulation.” Independent Plus. July 15, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Thursday

21

October 2021

0

COMMENTS

The Grateful Retrospect

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Read more about the grateful retrospect on hopereflected.com

Throughout the Old Testament, the children of Israel were told to remember how the Lord led them out of Egypt

One would think that such a significant event – which involved a whole people group leaving the land with all their belongings and more, witnessing the magnificent parting of the Red Sea and the crossing thereof, and the destruction of the entire Egyptian army – would be something that people would remember forever. And yet, they needed constant reminding because they were so quick to forget. “…beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” (Deuteronomy 6:12).

The disciples found themselves in a similar situation as they tried to navigate stormy seas

After the Lord walked to them on the water and calmed the wind, “they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.” (Mark 6:51-52). The disciples got caught up in their current circumstances and forgot about the miracle that they had witnessed earlier that evening when Jesus fed the five thousand. They shouldn’t have been surprised that Jesus came to them in the middle of the storm, for He had just taken a couple of fish and five loaves of bread and created a feast with leftovers. And yet, they were quick to forget.

Psalm 18:16-20 - Read more about the grateful retrospect on hopereflected.com

David made a point of remembering and meditating on the Lord, and all that He had done for him.

Hope Reflected

In Psalm 103:2, David said, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits”. Unless we’re actively working to remember, we have a tendency to forget. “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands,” David later wrote in Psalm 143. David made a point of remembering and meditating on the Lord and all that He had done for him. It is wisdom when we do likewise. Some people choose to keep a prayer journal to record prayer requests and praises, while others make a point of offering thanksgiving during prayer before making requests.

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits." (Psalm 103:2) Read more about the grateful retrospect on hopereflected.com

Whatever we do, we should remember God’s blessings to us, because they are many.

When the path seems dark and when there are storms on the sea, we have a hard time remembering the goodness of the Lord. “For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.” (Psalm 18:28). In the midst of turmoil, David wrote Psalm 18, where he recalls to mind all the ways that God has delivered him in the past. Spurgeon called it “the grateful retrospect”. “He…drew me out of many waters.” (v 16), “He delivered me,” (v 17), “He brought me forth… he delighted in me. The LORD rewarded me…” (vv 19-20). Though he was enduring an incredibly stressful and uncertain time, David remembered the goodness of the Lord. As Spurgeon said, “The deeper our troubles, the louder our thanks to God, who has led us through them all.” How’s our memory doing? It helps us to remember when we practice the grateful retrospect.

Originally published as “The grateful retrospect.” Independent Plus. May 21, 2021: 5. Print. Web.