October 3, 2017
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Hope in Times of Distress
I recently had a few friends call and ask me to pray for them because they were going through something and they didn’t know what to do. They responded as if these things would destroy their lives.
My thoughts went to when I was in the Hospital almost a year ago due to an accident on my motor scooter. When I saw my leg unwrapped for the first time and I was no longer on morphine for pain. I wasn’t in any physical pain, but when I saw my leg and bars going across the pins locking everything together, I was in emotional and mental distress. I did not know what to think. I admit that I actually had thoughts of suicide or that I might as well of had my leg cut off. I’ve been told that I wear my heart on my sleeve so after a good cry, some men do cry by the way or at least I do, I had to stop and put my focus on the Lord and not on myself or my circumstance.
The Apostle Paul said in his letter to the Philippians, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9 NIV)
An old hymn begins, “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness.” Penned by Edward Mote (1797-1874), “My Hope Is Built” has some great words in it. It says:
When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, and blood, support me in the whelming flood.
When every earthly prop gives way, He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.
The only way that I would make it through this distress was to refocus myself on God. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
I thought about prayer petitions that I made within the past couple of days. One prayer was that I asked for spiritual maturity, and at this point, I realized that this was going to bring about the answer to that prayer. It is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ that we stand before a Holy God and can bring him our praises and petitions. Many people would respond here with anger toward God blaming Him for the problem. However bad it was, God did not cause the accident, but he did allow it to happen, just as he allows me to have free will. I recognized that God is in control and that He is there with me no matter what happens.
I began to focus on the truth that God is in control! “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 – KJV) Afterwards, my faith and trust were restored and my joy was made complete.
When your focus is on the Lord, your problems become nothing. It’s because they are temporary no matter how bad they are, or how simple or small they are. I’ll leave you with some questions for thought. What is your hope in? Is it in the Lord? Where is your focus when trouble comes? Is it on God, or on your problems? Which one is bigger? Which one gives and keeps good promises? Which one is worth trusting?