I have heard many people say over the years that “life is hard and then some.” We all know and love Psalm 34:19 which states, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous. But the Lord delivers him out of them all.” The book of Hebrews also talks about angels that are available for our aid:
Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation. (Hebrews 1:14)
That word ‘salvation’ means more than just eternal salvation. It comes from the Greek word soteria, meaning rescue, safety (physically and morally); to deliver, health, salvation, save, saving. It speaks of our daily salvation requirements. Knowing this deep inside, many hearts (including mine) cry out, “how long before the answer or rescue appears”?
Various people in different lands endure hardships and sufferings as result of wars and anguish in their lives. The prolonged hardships in these kinds of places are hard to understand from our point of view due to our still somewhat protected and safe culture that we live in, focused mostly on gratifying our own concerns. Yet, troubles in all degrees are hard to bear. How often does the rope that we hold onto just about snap before God comes through with the answer?
Paul, the apostle, came across times when the experiences he went through were more than he could bear, and he felt that it would be the end for him, and that death was imminent.
For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us: in whom we trust that He will still deliver us. (2 Corinthians 1:8-10)
As we face our circumstances, sometimes without answer or visible change in sight to the natural eye, one tends to become numb to the surrounding conditions, and allow God’s promises and words of encouragement slip away. That is when discouragement comes in very intensely and hope vanishes fast. How easy it is to let things slip over a period of time, and watch doubts and fear comes barraging in!
Like Peter who walked on the water, we who have stepped out onto the waves must continue to walk in faith, or sink because of doubt and fear. We do not know how far Peter walked on the water, but it is encouraging to know that he was able to do so, one wave at a time.
It is essential to cling fervently to those God-spoken words that meant so much when they were first spoken to our hearts. These words need to be revived and quickened afresh inside of us. We need to stir up them up again. These words of spirit and life will come to pass because they have self-fulfilling power in themselves. What God says will come to pass. The answer, the solution, the rescue is still on its way. God, the Father did not leave any one of us behind, and did not forget about our conditions.
I cannot overemphasize how important it is to keep that word in the forefront of our minds, and keep speaking that word, thinking that word and mulling it over. To do so leads to success; it is to work with God and His word. That evidence can be found in the first verses of the letter to the Hebrews:
(God) …has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; Who, being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power…(Heb. 1:2-3)
God created all things by His Word, and now upholds all things by His Word, indicating that ongoing maintenance of those things is necessary. If God ever stops speaking, everything will break down and collapse. So we too must keep on speaking in faith what God spoke pertaining to us.
Finally, let’s look at Jeremiah, a man who was very discouraged at times. The Amplified Bible explains it beautifully in a way that will chase any lingering doubts away by these ‘thus says the Lord’ words:
Therefore, thus says the Lord [to Jeremiah]: If you return [and give up this mistaken tone of distrust and despair], then I will give you again a settled place of quiet and safety, and you will be My minister; and if you separate the precious from the vile [cleansing your own heart from unworthy and unwarranted suspicions concerning God’s faithfulness], you shall be My mouthpiece… (Jeremiah 15:19)