Trusting God In Troubled Times
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Psalm 62:5-8
Sunday 14th July 2013
In troubled times, it is not surprising that some people would forget or completely turn away from God. When it seems that a situation hasn’t gone favourably as expected, they reject and would have nothing to do with God. Today, I would like to turn our attention back to God in light of the recent home going of Dr Tayo Adeyemi.
Without a shadow of doubt troubled times will come. On such occasions, how should we respond? Do we turn away from God or do we return to Him?
From our foundation scripture, we can deduce that the Psalmist had been through a difficult situation. Nonetheless, he was resolved to hold on to God. Can I encourage you not to stop trusting, and worshipping God? Do not cease pouring out your heart before God, because He is still our refuge. Again in verse 8, we read the phrase ‘Trust in Him (God) at all times – encompassing, whether good or bad, whether cold or heat, on the mountain or in the valley. All times also refer to different situations or circumstances – whether a happy or a sad time, when a prayer has been answered or when it seems as if a prayer has not been granted.
“As long as the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22). This passage refers to the various seasons of life; wisdom requires that we prepare for the different seasons of life.
Trusting in God denotes having confidence, dependence, assurance and security in Him, irrespective of what you or we as a church may be facing. We cannot afford the enemy the luxury of stealing our confidence in God.
However, if the truth be told, it is easier to trust God when all is well – when prayers are answered favourably; when bills are paid, when there is a roof over your head and you are enjoying sound health.
A real measure of your trust in God is put to the test when you are facing a difficult situation – anybody can trust God when things are going well; anyone can sing praises, confess the word and keep going to church in good times – these moments are not a good test of your trust in God.
A real measure of your trust in God is when there are no reasons to trust Him – when there is no hope in the future, when afternoon becomes night, when the prison doors are standing, when it seems as if God has failed you, turned His back on you and the heavens seems shut against you. This was Job’s experience when he said ‘Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him (Job 13:15). Job was saying nothing will stop him from trusting God (Romans 8:35-39).
Trust is very pivotal to your faith in God. Unless you trust God, you cannot have faith in Him. For instance, if you do not trust me, you will not place much value or expectations on receiving anything from me. The same principle applies in trusting God and as such you need to protect your trust in God. If you do not trust God, you can never be intimate with Him.
Besides, unless you trust God, you will never hold on to His word. Again, going back to the same illustration, if you do not trust me, you will not pay much attention to my promises.
Faith can only be demonstrated where trust is already established. When Jesus asked Peter to walk on water, he could only step out and obey because he trusted Jesus.
The Psalmist admonishes us to trust God irrespective of what we may be going through. A good bible character who demonstrated this was Joseph, who went through a challenging period in his life. When Potiphar’s wife attempted to seduce him, he replied ‘How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). Joseph could easily have turned away from God at the point having been sold into slavery by his brothers, but he held on to God all the same in those troubled times.
The story of Apostle Paul and Silas comes to mind, recorded in Acts 16:25; “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” Paul and Silas were busy doing ministry when they were suddenly rounded up, falsely accused, beaten and thrown into prison, fastening their feet to stocks. That was a good opportunity to become disgruntled with God, but instead they chose to praise God. Midnight as recorded in that verse could be likened to a dead end, the end of the road, a point of hopelessness and despair. Eventually, God intervened in that situation.
From the account in 2 Samuel 12, which we studied in detail last week, David on learning about the passing of his son, having spent seven days fasting without water or food, got up, washed, anointed himself and changed his garments, returning to the sanctuary even though his request had not been granted as he desired. Here is a great lesson for us all – sometimes God will not grant our request as expected, but we must keep on trusting Him regardless.
John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ is a classic example of a bible character that lost hope in adversity. John had challenged Herod the tyrant ruler, resulting in his arrest and imprisonment. Eventually, he became disgruntled, when it became apparent that Jesus was not going to interfere with the unlawful detention. So John sent a message to Jesus saying "Are you the Messiah we've been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?" (Matthew 11:3 NLT). To which Jesus replied“Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear… and blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (Matthew 11:4-6) - A contrast to the attitude of Paul and Silas. Little wonder, Jesus summed up John the Baptist’s life mission this way: “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he”(V 11).
We must be careful how we interpret and react in this season we are going through as a church – we must take care that we do not cross that fine line between mourning the loss of a loved one and becoming disgruntled because of a seemingly unanswered prayer.
We must not cut ourselves off from our source, out of offence. Is it possible that Jesus could have intervened in John the Baptist’s case if he had been a little bit more positive, just like God delivered Joseph, Peter, Paul and Silas?
Isaiah 41:10 reads: “Fear not, for Iamwith you; be not dismayed, for Iamyour God.I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Whether you can feel God or not, He is still with you – He is always with you. His words are dependable and reliable. The presence of a problem is not an indication of the absence of God. Therefore in troubled times, let’s trust God and eliminate any trace of fear in our hearts. Such was Peter’s dilemma, when he faced a boisterous wind, walking on water at Jesus’ command. The moment he took his eyes and looked at the wind, he became afraid and he began to sink (Matthew 14:30).
In conclusion, let me share with you the story of Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane in Matthew 26:36-41. Jesus prayed three times that the cup be passed over from him to which – a request that God the Father graciously declined. In response, Jesus trusted God with the outcome, saying ‘Not my will, but yours be done’. In other words, ‘I don’t fully understand or see what you see, but I will continue to trust you’.
God has the big picture; He sees the end you do not see. However, He will not tamper with your will until you submit to His will.Remember that there are people whose destinies are attached and linked to your continuous obedience and confidence in God. Turning your back on God may result in their delayed deliverance or worse still their eternal doom.
Jesus trusted God in that difficult, painful moment – are you ready to do the same? The result of Jesus’ obedience is the countless numbers of people who have been brought into the kingdom because of his sacrificial death on the cross.
I pray that as a church we would continue to trust God and hold on to Him. Our present circumstances will not disconnect us from the source of life. May the abundance of God’s life be released to us. We will be strong and do exploits. We will continue to trust God and praise God at all times. Our strength is renewed like the eagles in Jesus name.
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