When life’s going along smoothly…we tend to ignore God. We smugly think it’s us that’s making it all happen. So when disease, death or tragedy hits – we’re thrown for a loop. ” How can this possibly be happening to me…what am I going to do…how can I fix this?” It’s at that point of distress, we finally cry out to the Lord. But how do we know God’s listening to us…how do we know we have His attention? We can start by reading His Word. The Bible is full of times when God miraculously answered His people’s cries for help. And each time He answered, their faith was built up a little more. The Psalmist showed this confidence when he wrote, “Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my trouble I will call to You, for You will answer me.” (Psalm 86:6-7) It’s that assurance from past answered prayers that enable us to have confidence every time we cry out to God anew.
Maybe this has happened to you – You’re with a group of friends and the discussion takes a very uncomfortable twist against what you believe as a Christian. You know you should say something…but you don’t out of fear or awkwardness. Then you spend the rest of the night kicking yourself for being such a coward. It’s not that you blatantly denied or rejected Jesus in public…but in a way, you did. Speaking out about the fact and truth of the Gospel is hard, and rejection by some is inevitable…but that shouldn’t silence us from speaking out about what we believe in.
Eliphaz was one of Job’s three friends that had come to comfort him after the devastating loss of his children and all his livestock. In this Scripture he is telling Job trouble is part of life. When everything is going along smoothly in our lives…Life is good. We’re happy, healthy, and prone to take God for granted. But when trouble hits…when we’re stricken with illness, or touched by loss…we change. We become frustrated and weary when illness strikes. We become bewildered and fearful of our lack of control during times of loss. It’s our attitude that changes…not God. For God remains the same…whether in good times or in bad. He’s right there beside you…offering comfort and hope no matter what you’re going through today.
King Hezekiah became ill to the point of death when Isaiah went and said to him, “Put your house in order, you’re going to die.” But it then says that Hezekiah prayed and wept before the Lord and the Lord relented. The human mind would look at this as God yielding, changing His mind, or just being fickle. But to God, relenting is grounded in compassion not whimsy. Psalm 106:45 says, “…and out of His great love He relented.” Though it may appear to us that God was changing His plan… according to His divine perspective…nothing changed.
God spoke – and the world came into existence. He spoke – and there was light. He spoke – and the earth with everything we know was created. It says in Psalm 148:5, “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for He commanded and they were created.” It’s impossible for the human mind to understand the sheer power, authority, and energy when God speaks. But we do know that when He speaks, lives are changed. So how then can we hear Him? God speaks through His Word, the Bible. But when was the last time you opened His Word and allowed Him to speak to you? For the same words He used to create the universe lie within the pages of His book, the Bible. Allow God speak to you today…open His Word.
Verbal histories from our elderly family members give us insight into just where we come from. Those precious stories are filled with important events, human struggles, and surprising accounts of things we had no prior knowledge of. Within those verbal histories, we hear bits of wisdom, sage advice, personal warnings, and lots of humor. With our own ears we listen as important information is given to us about the past. But have you ever thought about how important it is to give a “verbal history” to your children or grandchildren about God’s influence in your life? A once I was… but now I am… testimony showing the Lord’s redemptive power over sin in your life is more important than any other story you could share with them.
Man has always willfully rebelled and rejected God. But God looked past that rejection and sent His Son into the world to save it. Jesus Christ took upon Himself the punishment for the sins of all mankind…He willingly was broken, wounded and killed that we might live. Romans 4:25 tells us, “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Today we have that blessed assurance of righteousness through Christ Jesus…and as we look at the empty cross and tomb, we can with confidence proclaim…He is not there, He is risen!