“In the darkness we have a choice that is not really there in better times. We can choose to serve God just because he is God. In the darkest moments we feel we are getting absolutely nothing out of God or out of our relationship to him. But what if then—when it does not seem to be paying or benefiting you at all—you continue to obey, pray to, and seek God, as well as continue to do your duties of love to others? If we do that—we are finally learning to love God for himself, and not for his benefits.” ~Tim Keller
“The life of the godly is not an Interstate through Nebraska but a state road through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee. There are rockslides and precipices and dark mists and bears and slippery curves and hairpin turns that make you go backward in order to go forward. But all along this hazardous, twisted road that doesn’t let you see very far ahead, there are frequent signs that say, ‘The best is yet to come’....all the perplexing turns in our lives are going somewhere good. They do not lead off a cliff. In all the setbacks of our lives as believers, God is plotting for our joy.” ~John Piper
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
“Not only will He never leave you—that’s the negative side of the promise—but He cares for you. He is not just there with you. He cares for you. His care is constant—not occasional or sporadic. His care is total—even the very hairs of your head are numbered. His care is sovereign—nothing can touch you that He does not allow. His care is infinitely wise and good so that again in the words of John Newton, ‘If it were possible for me to alter any part of his plan, I could only spoil it.’” ~ Jerry Bridges
“God’s guidance will require patience on our part. His leading is not usually a direct assurance, a revelation, but His sovereign controlling of the circumstances of our lives, with the Word of God as our rule. It is therefore, inevitable that the unfolding of His purposes will take time—sometimes a very long time.” ~Sinclair B. Ferguson
From yesterday’s sermon at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville on Mark 6:45-52:
“There are thoughts here of comfort for all true believers. Wherever they may be, or whatsoever their circumstances, the Lord Jesus sees them…the same eye which saw the disciples tossed on the lake is ever looking at us. We are never beyond the reach of his care. Our way is never hid from him. He may not come to our aid at the time we like best, but he will never allow us to utterly fail. He that walked upon the water never changes. He will always come at the right time to uphold his people. Though he tarry, let us wait patiently. Jesus sees us, and will not forsake us.” ~J. C. Ryle
“God has wisely kept us in the dark concerning future events and reserved for himself the knowledge of them, that he may train us up in a dependence upon himself and a continued readiness for every event.” ~Matthew Henry
“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” ~Proverbs 27:1
“He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.’” ~Acts 1:7
The Lord is constantly calling us to obey Him in connection with things that we don’t know what the next step is going to be. But He is saying to us, “Will you not trust me?”
Remember the conversation that Simon Peter had with Jesus on that day of the breakfast at the sea in John 21? They are walking along and Jesus actually says to him, “Now trust me Peter, you are going to die for my sake.” And Peter sees the apostle John hanging behind and he says, “Well, tell me about this man.”
And you see what he is saying. He’s saying, “That’s a huge challenge to my life. I want to know that I’m getting fair dues. And before I fully trust you for this, I need to know what’s happening. Are other people going to do this? Or is this just me?”
Isn’t it amazing, that in other respects if the Lord said to us, “I have an exclusive plan for you. I don’t have this plan for anybody else, you’re the only one that has this plan,” we say, “I want to have that plan if nobody else is getting it.”
But when it comes to trusting Him we’re inclined to say, “I might trust you if everybody else is on board.”
And we face that challenge constantly, don’t we? We find ourselves in situations where faith is challenged and because there are others on board we march on and we stand up. But there are situations where there is nobody else there. From the human point of view, people are challenging us.
But from the divine point of view, the Lord is saying now, “Trust me. Know me well enough to trust me.”
~from “The Old Couple” a sermon by Sinclair Ferguson, June 12, 2012
Last week we concluded our series on fear. It began as “A Mother’s Trust”, but in the end, it was for everyone. We pray you were encouraged to trust in our wise, loving, and sovereign Savior. You can download the pdf or review the posts online. “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
Recently, I heard a story about a woman who was gripped by fear in the middle of a dangerous storm. She got on her knees and asked God to help her trust Him, and instantly her fears vanished. She got up from her knees, got into bed, and fell asleep. Just like that. “I wish that would happen to me more often!” I thought. But I don’t usually feel less fearful the instant I pray or read Scripture. And then I worry that I’m doing something wrong or (mistakenly) assume that God’s solution for anxiety “isn’t working.” But my fearful feelings don’t mean that God hasn’t answered my prayers. Instead, as Elisabeth Elliot explains, “[God] wants us to learn to use our weapons.” He wants me to learn to persevere in prayer, he wants me to form habits of casting cares (1 Pet. 5:7) and befriending faithfulness (Ps. 37:3). He wants me to become proficient at speaking truth to myself. He wants me to learn to trust Him, even when I don’t feel like it. So if you think God has abandoned you in your fight against fear, think again. The ongoing fight isn’t a sign that He’s forgotten you, but that He’s teaching you to trust.
Sometimes, when battling fear, I am unable to effectively speak truth to myself. I try, but it just doesn’t stick. In such cases, I need others to talk to me. So I tell them about my fears and ask them to speak appropriate biblical truth to those fears.
God anticipates our need for community in fighting unbelief: “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end” (Heb 3:13-14).
I need those who “have come to share in Christ” to help me “hold [my] original confidence firm to the end.”
It isn’t always easy to confess fear. We might fear what others will think of our fear! We might not want to appear weak. But in the very act of asking for help, we are opening the door of humility through which God promises His grace will always come rushing in (James 4:6).
So if you feel as if you are losing your battle against fear today, enlist an ally in the fight. Ask a friend who “shares in Christ” to help you hold fast to gospel truth.