“Believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1)
For us human beings and all believers, a time will come in our lives when things get very dark. My wife and I spent an evening this week visiting the parents and relatives of a 20 year old boy who was recently knifed to death in very tragic circumstances. He was an only child and God blessed his parents with the young man, after many years of waiting on the Lord. His father said to me, I still believe in God, but it will be difficult. Please pray that God will grant me the strength to carry on.
So, for this family and many others who are hurting badly as a result of difficult bereavement, painful marriage breakdowns, life changing illnesses and so on, they have to believe, they have to go on trusting in God, even though they cannot prove it. Many say, well what can we do than to accept and bow to the will of God. You see they are accepting even though they cannot understand or make sense of what is happening.
The same thing happened to me over 46 years ago when my mum died. Even now, with stronger faith, I still ask the question of why, why her.
Beloved, it is at these times that we really need a strong faith, but it is precisely at such times that our faith may fail us. The truth of the matter is that when things are going well, our faith may not be fully challenged or tested and therefore we believe that we have a strong faith.
However, it is how we respond in times of crisis, when troubles come, that will determine the kind of faith we have, or whether we have any trust in God at all.
There are people today who feel badly hurt, let down, and failed, because of their misplaced beliefs that once God loves them, and if God is with them, then storm should never hit them and life should be plain sailing. They believe that once they do the will of God, they would automatically be protected, immune and insulated against any dangers, problems and challenges. May be they need to recall and learn from the experience of the disciples of Jesus who were in the boat with him when storm hit them.
In John Chapter 13 verses 21-38, during the Last Supper, when Jesus began to talk about his death – “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me”(v21); “My children I will be with you only a little longer”(v33); “Where I am going, you cannot come”(v36); the apostles who had put all their hope and trust in Jesus, who had committed their lives and future to Jesus, were thrown into crisis, confusion and upheaval. And, with good reasons their hearts were troubled and filled with fear. So, seeing their distress, Jesus said to them; “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still, and trust in me” (verse 21). Yes, Jesus knew they believed in him, but he pushed them further, “You must go on believing in God and in me”
Beloved, as human beings often at crisis time we feel that God has abandon us. But in the same way that Jesus assured the Apostles, his assurance to us is that He will not abandon us. “And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20)
Wherever you may be on your journey right now, no matter what challenges and problems you are experiencing, no matter what has happened to you and what is happening to you, my charge to you, is to go on believing, to go on trusting in Jesus and in the Father. Don’t be deceived, encouraged or convinced, by others to cut corners in times of crisis that may separate you from God and his love. Focus on God, don’t allow anything to distract you, don’t seek alternative solutions and power. It simply will not work. What will work and the only thing I urge you to do in times of crisis, is to go on stubbornly trusting in God. You see, what faith does is assure us that God is with you and me in the midst of our crisis. It convinces us that we are not alone, that we are not abandoned, that master Jesus is in control and He will enable us to get through the crisis and will lead to total victory for us.
My sisters and brothers, there are rewards for those who go on trusting, believing in Jesus and God.
In Mark Chapter 10 verses 42-52, the blind beggar, Bartimaeus, despite being rebuked, shouted down, vilified and told to be quiet, shouted all the more, when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth who was passing. Bartimaeus was persistent in his belief in Jesus as the Messiah and he was rewarded. In verse 52, Jesus said to him – “Go, your faith has healed you”. Jesus emphasised the importance and necessity of continuing faith in him.
Hebrews Chapter 11 verse 6, tells us – “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him”.
Let me say this to you, in times of troubles, your faith is your source of comfort and support. Remember, not all that happens to us is determined by God’s will, but all is encompassed by his love.
So, my friends when things are bad, I urge you to remember and act on these words of Jesus; “Believe, trust in God and believe, trust also in me”.
I pray that in this month and always, God will bring light into your darknesses and hope to your despair.
In your journey of pain, grief, loss, sorrow and failure, may the Lord be your source of power. He will grant you courage and wisdom in all your problems.
I pray with the Name that is above every other names, the Name that every knee must bow and every tongue confess, in heaven, on earth and under the earth, that all diversions, all deflections, all redirections and deviations to your success and glory, shall be removed completely. All that stand as blockages in your life will be removed and all roadblocks will be dismantled, in the name of Jesus. You will make it and live a life worthy of God.
Welcome to this new month and may it be filled with joy and may the peace of God be with you and all yours.
Venerable Prebendary Tunde Roberts