Can we still trust God in the midst of struggles, disappointments and dark times? The answer is found in the Bible. Photo by Aaron Burden via Unsplash.
We read of bad news every day.
We hear of the unimaginable happening to innocents.
Where is God in all this darkness?
How does He show Himself in such times?
Can we still trust Him?
The answer is found in the Word of the Lord. Here are five verses to hide in your heart, especially when you are going through difficult and dark times.
1. God is in the valleys
“Yet, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalms 23:4)
The shepherd’s presence does not eliminate the presence of evil, but eliminates the fear of evil.
What a promise to know that we don’t have to fear because God is with us.
In Psalms 23, King David was writing about God’s provision. Other than being with us in the “green pastures” and “still waters”, God is in the valleys too.
A valley suggests being surrounded by things far bigger than us. And whatever valleys we might be in, no matter how deep, it is always reassuring to know that we have a Shepherd who guides us every step of the way.
The valleys might never go away. The issues might never be resolved. Evil might still be lurking in the corner.
The Shepherd’s presence does not eliminate the presence of evil, but eliminates the fear of evil. He provides us with a “comfort” that will be our strength for the future, come what may.
2. We can find rest in God
“Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
This is not a call to a church programme or a religion, but a call to be in a relationship with Jesus.
In this passage, the people of Israel were consumed by the legalistic dos and don’ts of the Pharisees. The Lord was addressing them to put these thoughts away and to find rest in Him instead.
Similarly, we might be overwhelmed by things of this world. Like seeing the death toll from Covid rise around the world. Or trying to navigate a personal struggle.
God’s call for us to “come” to Him is not a call to a church programme or a religion. It is a call to be in a relationship with Jesus.
Beyond physical rest, spiritual rest is just as important. And the only place to find it is in the Lord. The yoke and burden we carry will be lighter when we follow and trust the Holy Spirit living within us.
3. Our suffering matters
“… we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
If we were to die without Christ, suffering is merely suffering.
“Why Me?” is a question we might often find ourselves asking without getting any satisfactory answers despite countless sermons preached on the subject.
In Romans 5, Paul provides more clarity to this question by describing some of the benefits to those who choose to live by faith in Christ.
Our suffering produces perseverance, which is the ability to trust God for longer periods of time. In turn, we grow in character, which allows us to hope more in the Lord. There is a pattern of how one virtue builds upon another as we choose to grow in the ways of Jesus.
If we were to die without Christ, suffering remains merely suffering – along with a whole lot of negative emotions like pain, frustration and loss.
But when we choose to live with Christ, our suffering counts for something because we are called for something higher.
May we always choose to say: “God, give me that mountain.”
4. We have a new Jerusalem in heaven
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
Jesus Himself promises to wipe our tears away and comfort us.
The dark times in our lives will not last forever.
Revelation 21 paints a picture of what it would look like when God has enacted His judgment on mankind. There will be a complete defeat of all evil – all suffering gone, all wrongs made right and no more sin.
We may carry sorrows and weep through tough times in our lives. But Jesus Himself promises to wipe our tears away and comfort us in that day. And when He does wipe away the tears, it will be for the last time because we are promised a new reality with no more crying or pain.
This restoration puts away the former things or old order of things that were the result of the fall of man. What is left will be the Kingdom of God.
What a promise to know that our longing for this new Jerusalem will one day be made real.
5. The battle belongs to the Lord
“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15)
God’s command was to not be afraid nor discouraged, because the battle was God’s.
In 2 Chronicles 20, there was a great army dedicated to destroying Judah. Yet God’s command was to not be afraid nor discouraged, because the battle was God’s. He would fight on behalf of Judah.
Our own battles come in many forms – a lost job, a marriage that needs mending, financial hardship, sickness and more. The battle might even be getting worse with each passing day.
God fights our battles with, and for, us.
We can choose to quit and give in to our fears and doubts. Or we can choose to trust and believe that God is wholly present in the hopelessness and desperation.
As Phil Wickham wrote in his song Battle Belongs: “You shine in the shadow, You win every battle. Nothing can stand against the power of our God.”
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