By Charles Stanley
Nuclear weapons . . . biological warfare . . . terrorism . . . September 11, 2001 . . . these words frequent headlines and conversations. How we live during these difficult days will testify to both our focus and our priorities. Should we live defeated and fearful of the events around us? Or, will we stand confident and assured in the promises of our Lord?
The very foundations of safety and security have been shaken by threats and acts of terrorism. The fear that arises from this situation causes us to seek a place of stability. However, Hebrews 12:27 says that God will “remove those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” Sometimes God allows our world to be shaken, so that we are forced to determine whom we will trust. Will we try to find security in the material world that easily passes away? Or, will we find our hope in the eternal Word of God? By focusing on God and claiming His promises, we can stand with confidence, determination, and perseverance in the midst of trouble.
Unconditional love is one promise that God gives His children. This love embodies His sacrifice on the cross, so that we might have forgiveness and eternal blessings. It is unconditional because He loves us no matter what we might do; His love does not depend on our behavior. God loves us absolutely, perfectly, and completely all of the time because that is His very nature. First John 4:7 says, “let us love one another, for love is from God.” In addition, 1 John 3:1 relates, “how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called the children of God.” We are blessed with the gift of God’s love simply because that is who He is.
God’s love is not only unconditional; it is also eternal. In Romans 8:38-39, Paul gives us this assurance by stating: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Can warfare separate us? No. Can terrorism separate us? No. My friend, not even death can separate us from our heavenly Father. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, I know them and they follow Me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish”( John 10:27-28). We will remain in His eternal love forever. Therefore, as children of God, whenever we face trials that we do not understand and cannot control, we can rely on the awesome assurance that we are gripped by the unconditional, eternal love of our Lord.
God has also promised to give us His undivided attention. Now, you may say, “But there are too many believers for Him to think about each one all of the time!” Not for an omniscient God. He knows everything, and He is attentive to every single one 1 John 5:14 says that if “we ask anything according to God’s will, He hears us.” God hears our prayers, and answers them, too! In fact, He even knows our deepest thoughts. Psalm 94:11 states that “The LORD knows the thoughts of man,” and Psalm 44:21 says that “[He] knows the secrets of the heart.”
God knows everything about us, including how we think and what we desire. This is how He knows exactly how to comfort and guide us. In Psalm 94:19, the psalmist praises God for consoling his anxious thoughts. Likewise, in Psalm 32:8, God promises that “…[He] will counsel you with [His] eye upon you.” Because God is attentive to every single aspect of our lives—all of our needs, wants, and desires—He knows exactly how to relieve our fears and direct us to do His will.
When I am going through a difficult time in my life, I cling to another of God’s promises: His unalterable presence. I want to know that, no matter what I am going through, He is there. He vows to never leave nor forsake His children. (Hebrews 13:5) There is no one on earth who can make such a promise to us; only God can guarantee His eternal presence. (John 14:27)
When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, the Holy Spirit of God indwells us forevermore. He is our Helper who enables us to overcome every fear and hardship in our lives. Psalm 23:4 says that “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for [God] is with me; [His] rod and [His] staff, they comfort me.” What is it that gives us comfort? It is the very presence of God. (Psalm 91:1-9) No matter what we might face in our lives, God’s presence will enable us to remain strong, fearless, bold, and able.
God’s presence is so comforting because we also have the assurance of His unchanging power. Psalm 103:19 describes His infinite authority: “The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.” Psalm 135:6 states, “Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas, and in all deeps.”
You might think, “Well, if God’s in control, then why do bad things happen?” Isaiah 46:10 explains that God is going to fulfill His good purpose and perfect will. If He allows pain, hurt, and loss, then He has decided, in His infinite wisdom, that this will bring about His good purpose.
For example, a tragedy can persuade a nation to abandon its sinfulness and focus on God. You see, the Bible says that “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, those who are called according to His purpose”(Romans 8:28). So, we do not have to feel terrorized or afraid of what may happen. Things will only occur in our nation if God allows them. We should therefore be encouraged that all events—past, present, and future—are in the hands of our perfect and capable God.
As God’s children, we can stand firm in the knowledge of His unwavering promises. Joshua 21:45 says that all of God’s promises to the house of Israel came to pass; we can trust that they will hold true for us, as well. Therefore, we must not be controlled by events in the world. Everyone feels afraid sometimes, but we can overcome this and live confidently in the love, knowledge, presence, and power of our Lord. He knows that we cannot accomplish this by ourselves; He desires us to rely solely upon Him for assurance and direction. As His children, we have a responsibility to respond to trials with godliness, reverently serving our Lord.
If you have never accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, then you cannot experience the promises of God. Without a personal relationship with Him, you do not have anything of eternal value; everything you have can be shaken loose and torn away. Only God is unchanging and dependable, and, in His great love, desires that all men would come to know Him.(1 Timothy 2:3-4) He is waiting to hear you cry out to Him to confess and repent of your sins, and to surrender your life to Him. At that moment, as a new child of God, you too will be able to claim the amazing promises of our heavenly Father.
– Charles F. Stanley
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