God’s Word is the best thing to turn to in times of trouble. I remember when my youngest memorized Psalm 27:1 for a speech meet when he was in grade school. Since I helped him as he practiced, I memorized it too,
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
This psalm was a prayer that David prayed in relation to Psalm 18, where he sang to the Lord words of praise in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul (a good psalm to read as well).
Take a look at Hebrews 11, where the examples of faith were met with all sorts of cruel and harsh temptations, trials, testing and suffering that included: being mocked, homeless, destitute, afflicted, tormented, tortured, stoned, scourged, imprisoned, sawn in two, slain by the sword, and more. In verse 35 it says, “Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.” How did they endure? They looked to Him Who is invisible (vs. 27). This was the precursor to chapter 12, which goes on to say, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ endured the ultimate suffering so that all who believe in Him could ultimately live ‘pain free’.
Suffering, hardship and pain are by-products of our fallen world. The apostle Paul suffered through many trials of his own (2 Cor. 11:24-28, Phil. 3:12-14).
Many of us today have not, nor may not suffer and be tempted to the extent of the examples in the Bible (though some have &/or do on a daily basis). It’s not so difficult to understand why then there has been so much fear and panic due to this current viral pandemic. The reason is found in Romans 5:3-4 where it says that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. If one has not gone through much suffering, then the things that lead to hope are lacking.
As Christians, fear and panic are not options. 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” We know that “greater is He that is in us, then he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). We know that in the world we will have anguish: but we can be of good cheer because He has overcome the world (John 16:33). We know that we can have peace amidst any storm that comes in this life. Jesus said to the disciples prior to his crucifixion, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27). We know that as the apostle Paul encouraged the Philippians, we too can be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let our requests be made known to God. Then the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7). We, as those of faith in chapter 11 of Hebrews, must keep our focus upward where Christ sits on the right hand of God. That’s where our blessed hope is and where our strength to endure suffering patiently comes from (Col. 3:1-4, Titus 2:13, 2 Tim. 2:3, 10, 12, 4:5).
Psalm 27 ends with, “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord.” Laura