he Church on earth seems to be a little down in the mouth these days. The enemies of righteousness, the powers of this dark world, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms seem to have us surrounded. Things look pretty grim for the home team, from a natural point of view.
There is even a hint of panic that is bubbling up from certain parts of the camp, and the prophets of doom are predicting certain disaster. Doom and gloom on every side promote fear and anxiety that quickly displaces our faith and our trust in the Lord for every situation.
Romans 8:28 is being put to the test in these “last” days. The scriptures actually promise many struggles and much suffering for all believers before our ultimate and glorious deliverance by the Lord God Almighty. In reality, Christians in the USA have had it easy compared to those in much of the world. For us, the current trouble is only a foretaste of serious suffering.
Today’s situation with the Church reminds me of the story in 2 Kings, chapters 6 and 7, when the King of Aram laid siege to Samaria. The surrounding army blockaded the city and a great famine ensued. Circumstances were so dire, and food so scarce that the citizens were resorting to cannibalizing their own children.
The King of Israel blamed God for the disaster and sought to kill the prophet Elisha in vengeful anger. Elisha prophesied to the King that the siege would be broken the very next day and that food would soon be plentiful. The king’s officer doubted the word of the prophet saying, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?” Elisha responded to him, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat of any of it!”
That night four lepers wandered out of the city in desperation only to discover that the vast army of Aram had fled, abandoning all their supplies. The Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army coming to attack them. The lepers eventually reported what they had found and, after their story was confirmed, the people of the city joyfully stampeded out of the gates of the city to help themselves to the plunder. The king’s officer, who was in charge of the city gate, was trampled to death by the crowd, as prophesied by Elisha, and there was ample provision for everyone.
The point of the story is that God is doing a lot of stuff behind the scenes. You see, most of reality is invisible to “natural” man. It takes faith and spiritual discernment to see beyond the fog of appearances. This “dark world” lives by what is naturally seen and rationalized by misguided and deceived men.
Spiritual deception produces blind fools whose world view begins with saying in their hearts that “there is no God.” They refuse to observe creation objectively and see what should be obvious; that the order and beauty of the universe can only be explained as the handiwork of a mighty God. There is no more “reasonable” explanation than that. Willful blindness leads to depravity of all sorts and to eventual destruction (Romans 1:18-28).
Sadly, some Christians often act a lot like unbelievers. They want to trust God but get scared or depressed when bad things begin to happen, especially to them. Forgetting the promises of God, they get caught up with the passing-away “wisdom” of this lost world, eventually losing the hope they had in Christ.
Jesus warned us that there would be days like this: John 16:33 says “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
It’s very simple. In him we have peace if that is where we want to place our confidence. In this world we have trouble if we choose to keep our focus on that dark place of doubt and gloom. Jesus overcame the mindset of the world and invites us to follow his lead by setting our hearts and minds on things above, not on earthly things. After all, we have died to ourselves and our life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-4)
The challenge that faces the Church today is for us to look beyond the obvious, see what God is doing, and to trust that he has everything under control. He has an army of angels ready at his command and all the world’s resources at his fingertips. There is no question that the victory is ours because the battle is the Lord’s. We need only to show up and stand up fully equipped to face the enemy.
I’ve taken a peek at the back of the “Book” and guess what? We faithful believers win! The victory never comes without a struggle and not without some suffering that can hardly be compared to the wonderful prize that awaits us in eternity. The assurance of our faith is why we can have joy, even in our suffering. That’s why we cannot give doubt the smallest opportunity to dissuade our trust in God’s Word.
The blessings of God will come in a supernatural way and the doubters will be trampled at the gate. Don’t buy into the bad report. Don’t submit to pessimism. Don’t give up your faith just because you can’t see how God is going to deliver you as you stand firm in the day of evil. He is faithful, and he is strong and mighty. Amen.
[LeRoy Curtis is a pastor and Bible teacher with training ministries in Africa and Central America. He and Judy live in Carrollton. Email him at email@example.com.]