When Things are Unclear–Trust God

My devotional reading this morning included this verse from Psalm 56:

“In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust;  I shall not be afraid.  What can flesh do to me?”  Psalm 56:4

The superscription tells us that it was written by David when the Philistines seized him in Gath– most assuredly a scary and uncomfortable situation!  Although Samuel had anointed him as king, his future looked uncertain at best.

Most of us will never be captured by enemy soldiers but we still go through tough and confusing times.  Friends disappoint us;  our dream job becomes stressful;  the kids act up;  our financial situation deteriorates;  our health fails.  It’s hard to remember that God is at work in those difficult things, as well as the good ones.  Like David, we may not understand, but we can trust.  We can refuse to fear, because God is with us.

 

Anthony W. Thorold, an Anglican bishop during the Victorian period sums it up well in this quote:

“Do not fear circumstances.  They cannot hurt us if we hold fast to God and use them as the voices and ministries of His will.  Trust Him about everyone and everything, for all times and all needs, earth and heaven, friends and children, the conquest of sin, the growth of holiness, the cross that chafes, the grace that stirs.”

The bottom line — when things aren’t clear, trust the One who knows and controls all things.  You are in His hands. If things look like they’re falling apart, He’s still holding them together.  Your future is clear to Him.

For more on trusting God, see these posts:

Trusting Your Leader

“Even unto death”

I Will Give You Rest

 

Sunday’s Coming

Good Friday is over.  The disciples are hiding, fearful.  Will they be arrested next?  And even if they aren’t what’s left for them?  Some of them have been following Jesus for years, and now he’s dead.  Their hopes are dashed.  No doubt they’re depressed, frustrated, maybe even angry.

In hindsight, we know that Sunday’s coming.  Sunday when Jesus will rise again.  Sunday when Jesus will conquer death itself.  Sunday when their experiences will begin to transform them into brave men who are willing to die for their Lord and His church.

Right now, all of us are in a sort of “Good Friday” place. We feel imprisoned in our homes.  We don’t know what’s coming next.  We’re afraid of getting sick, or making others sick.  We’re worried about our finances.  Like the disciples, we may be feeling all kinds of negative emotions.

Take heart, friends, because Sunday’s coming.  God’s promise is:

“… we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

We don’t know what that good is, but as Christians we do know we can trust Him. As Job said,

“Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” Job 13:15

St. Paul’s trust in God was so complete that he could say:

“I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances. I know how to live humbly, and I know how to abound. I am accustomed to any and every situation—to being filled and being hungry, to having plenty and having need. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:11-13

At some point this situation will end.  We’ll get through it one way or another, but only with God will we find true peace, acceptance and hope.  Keep trusting in Him.  Sunday’s coming.

 

 

 

 

More Than One Angel by Billie Hughes Locke–Book Review

Billie Hughes, who wrote this book, was the speaker at our congregation’s Valentine’s Day Dinner this year.  A friend purchased her book for me, and I finally had time to read and review it.

Anyone who has experienced difficulties in relationships will empathize with Billie’s story.  She was a difficult child in a neglectful family.  She ran away to marry as a teenager.  By the age of twenty-one she was the mother of four children;  one child died and another was born with serious facial deformities.  Her marriage ended, and she leaped into a second marriage that was also difficult.  Eventually she divorced again.  Billie said she didn’t need just one angel, she needed a band of them!

Throughout her life, Billie struggled to educate and improve herself.  She obtained a high school diploma and became a master barber with several shops of her own.  Somewhere along the line, she began to realize that God, not material success, is the key to contentment.  She prayed and studied the Bible. She learned to forgive She realized that her basic problem is trust and commented:

“How could I trust someone I couldn’t even see, to handle my life?  Everyone else in my life had always had more important things to do than care for me.  Why would God be different?”

She admitted that her theology was mixed up, but it was a start.  With a third marriage, she achieved a more peaceful life and became a writer and speaker, emphasizing that God can do the impossible and any life can turn around.  Her book is sprinkled with small miracles and what I call God-cidences, that lead her to a deeper relationship with Him.

I find a couple of big problems with this book.  First, nowhere in Billie’s faith story does she mention a church, Pastor, or community of other Christians.  Possibly, she has these things, and simply didn’t talk about them, but I would find that unusual.  In my experience, I have learned and grown the most when in a relationship with other Christians.  We need to be mentored and to mentor others.  (Hmmm… remember our “one-anothers” monthly theme?).  Billie does have some Christian friends who influence her, but I get no sense of the stable, progressive Christian growth a church home provides.

Second, I am disturbed when near the end of the book, Billie makes this statement to her son:

“You are the master of your destiny at this point.  Everything you really need is right inside you.  All I can do is pray for you.”

This is definitely some mixed-up theology.  God is the master of our destiny, and all that we need is in Him, not ourselves.  It is another example of stinkin’ thinkin’ that sounds good, but doesn’t stand up to correct doctrine and interpretation of the Scriptures.

My Verdict?  Two stars.  Read it if you want to enjoy Billie’s story, but not for sound theology.