Have you ever experienced feelings of discouragement? When things go wrong, as they often do—at least seemingly—have you wondered whether God is really there… being really involved in your life, guiding and directing it? Did promises that God even knows about what you are thinking and what you will be saying lose their meaning, somehow, during those times?
Now, I hate to admit it but there were moments in my life when I felt exactly that way.
Surely, you and I know certain key Scriptures… Scriptures such as that all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28); that the very hairs of our head are all numbered (Matthew 10:30); that God will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5)… but how real, how relevant, how ever-present are those promises when hard times hit us? Are we really convinced even then, that nothing… and I mean, nothing! – can happen to us, unless God specifically allows it… and that He does so for a grandiose reason and purpose?
It may become easy to dismiss or forget such knowledge and fall into the trap of believing in “time and chance”—it just “happens” to us; our misery has nothing to do with God being or not being there and watching over us!
I have found and concluded and am convinced that believing in the concept of “time and chance” is perhaps the surest way of destroying our faith in Almighty God. While “time and chance” does happen to this world, it quite decisively does NOT rule over true Christians. As we explain in our free booklet, “Human Suffering, Why… and How Much Longer?”, “True Christians are NOT in the ‘hand’ of time and chance. Rather, Solomon tells US: ‘… the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God’ (Ecclesiastes 9:1). David understood, too, that he was in God’s hands. He wrote, in Psalm 31:15: ‘My times are in Your hand.’ He knew that he was always, constantly, and completely under God’s observation, His protection, and in His loving care… as are all true Christians today. God promises that nothing will happen to us that is too difficult for us to bear (compare 1 Corinthians 10:13). This means, then, that God must be watching us every second to guarantee the fulfillment of His promise.”
But knowing this intellectually and believing it wholeheartedly, without any shred of doubt, even in times of serious trials, may be two different things. Christ gave all of us this clear and at the same time serious and sobering challenge: “… when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). He was not just talking about any kind of faith, but THE faith—the living faith of Christ and God the Father in us. With THAT faith, we can move mountains, and nothing will be impossible for us. But we must cultivate that faith, growing in it.
Christ never lost that special faith of His Father in Him. He never believed for one second that He was just the potential victim of “time and chance”. He never became discouraged (Isaiah 42:4). But this does not mean that He never struggled with His human nature, or that His human will was always identical with the Father’s Will. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane: “…not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39). And He submitted to the Father’s Will (John 6:38)… never sinning by rebelling against it—always believing that the Father’s Will was the best for Him.
That is what we must believe too… how we must behave, and what we have always to remind ourselves of. Even if we don’t understand why some things “happen” to us, we MUST be fully convinced that whatever trials we are confronted with, God knows about them, and He is most powerful to intervene every time when it is in accordance with His Will. Sometimes, He might not act immediately, for His very purpose, but we must never doubt that God is there and that He knows what He is doing.
To accept, believe and live this Truth is not always easy. To really embrace the fact that His thoughts are so much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9), and that His understanding and foresight are so much more superior than ours might pose quite a challenge for us at times. And then, discouragement can creep in—even finding fault with God. Elijah thought at one time that God was unfair… that He had fought for God but that he was left all alone (1 Kings 19:14). He felt at that moment that his work was useless and without meaning and effect. Jeremiah even exclaimed that God had become to him “like an unreliable stream, As waters that fail” (Jeremiah 15:18).
But God showed them, and many others, that their perspective and concept of Him was wrong; that He had been with them all the time, and that His purpose will stand (Isaiah 14:24). And so, God tells us today: “But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior…” (Isaiah 43:1-3).
With this ever-present conviction, we can walk with the invisible God as if we could see Him (Hebrews 11:27). By KNOWING that God is with us and in us, we can overcome fear and discouragement (Deuteronomy 1:21). We will not always be successful in this, and we might slip and fall, but we can get up again and keep on walking (Proverbs 24:16). And we can—and must—wholeheartedly agree with Paul when he encourages all of us: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).