“Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here I am.” (Isaiah 58:19)
The Lord never promised that the life we live on earth would be problem-free; that it would be plain-sailing or that it would be a bed of roses. That would be an illusion. Remember that the devil is the prince of this world – prone to wreaking havoc. The Bible teaches that “Your enemy the devil, (that is Satan), prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) We cannot stop him from roaming around but we can stop him from having us for a meal. “Resist him, standing firm in the faith ….” (verse 9)
In fact, what the Lord Jesus teaches is that “In this world you will have trouble. But take courage, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) The wave of troubles that come our way, we can testify to that. “Each day has enough of its own.” Jesus confirms in Matthew 6:24. But that should not bother us. God says in His word that He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) if we call upon Him. “Then you will call and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here I am.” (Isaiah 58:9)
Trials and tribulations are intended to be building blocks that would help us stand up to the tests the devil will throw our way. Indeed they are permitted sometimes, so that we would learn to put up a fight rather than to faint. “If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength.” (Proverbs 24:10)
That we are in Jesus, as sons and daughters, our faith must be built up to the extent that we can stand the wiles of the devil. If Satan did not spare Jesus when he tempted Him soon after Jesus completed a forty day fast, let us not expect him to leave us alone. If our belief in the Word of God, His Son, is strong, then we have a shield and a refuge to protect us. We have assurances to stand on that are firm and unshakeable. His words cannot be broken, they have been tested and proven worthy. When we take time to study the lifestyles of key Bible characters, we can attest to this fact.
One such character is Joseph who had a dream of becoming a leader among his brothers, but instead he went through a series of mishaps - no doubt orchestrated by the devil - to deliberately frustrate him. He was sold by his brothers which landed him into slavery. In the end, he found himself in prison – far removed from the dream God had showed him. It was from the prison - the least place for someone to rise into a celebrity - that Joseph acceded to the position of Governor in Egypt, in a foreign land besides.
If Joseph had given up on his dream, its realisation would have been difficult. It would have never happened. But Joseph was steadfast. He knew in whom he had believed. Let us not permit the devil to deceive us in believing that what we discern in our spirits is a lie. “God is not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should change His mind.” (Numbers 23:19) What He has decreed, would He not accomplish it?
The three Hebrew boys – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who refused to bow to King Nebuchadnezzar’s bronze idol were thrown into a fiery furnace. But when he checked whether they had been consumed by the fire, he was surprised to find them still alive. “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand…” (Daniel 3:16)
To the king’s consternation, the three boys after they had come out from the furnace that was “heated seven times hotter than usual,” observed that “the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.” (Daniel 3: 27)
Most alarming for king Nebuchadnezzar was that after throwing the three boys into the fiery furnace he noticed soon afterwards that they had become four. “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” (Daniel 3:25) Where did the fourth person come from? King David had stated that “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You (LORD) are with me…” (Psalm 23:5)
The boys were not left to their fate; instead their faith saved them. In the fiery furnace which was meant to consume them, they found protection. So, let us not give up! Let us hold firm to our measure of faith, however small; it can work wonders on our behalf.
The Lord says in Isaiah 43:1b “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.” (Isaiah 43:1b-3) Note that it is when we are in the midst of trouble that God lends a hand – not as we encounter it, but when we are experiencing it. This requires a lot of faith.
The Bible seeks to teach us not to rely solely on what is seen but on what is unseen. It further admonishes that what is visible is temporal whilst the unseen is eternal. We should not be moved by what we see, but by what the Lord has promised to do. He will only step in when we are in trouble not when we anticipate it.
God Himself wants us to “Call to [Him] and I will answer you and tell great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
God is often referred to as the ‘Ancient of days;’ meaning that from eternity to eternity He is God – the Same, yesterday, today and forever. He never changes. He is the Alpha and Omega - which interpreted means - the Beginning and the End.