When You Do Not Know What to Do
King David in periods of darkness cried out to the LORD for help and emerged victorious over every situation and like him we must also praise God in every situation.

When You Do Not Know What to Do

Job lost everything in one day and when we read the book we get to know the reason for his suffering right in the beginning itself. But Job did not have any information about the reasons for such a great tragedy befalling him despite his righteous living. When everything is going smooth in our lives, suddenly an earthquake shakes up the very foundations of our being leaving us totally confused about the way out. And then we attempt various things but every effort fails and it looks like even God has turned His face from us. But why does a loving God allow such situations to develop in our lives?      

        What is a spiritual emergency? –Job lost everything in one day despite the fact that he lived a righteous life as he explained to his friends. He could not understand the reason for his suffering and also for no reply forthcoming for his prayers. Spiritual crisis in a person’s life is a situation where he is neither able to understand the reasons for the situation nor able to find a way out of that maze. This would challenge a person physically, financially, socially and spiritually, with no solution available from friends nor answers to prayers from God. Job suffered this and his wife unable to bear his pain and suffering, asked him to curse God and die. His three friends accused him to be a sinner in real life and a young man also criticized him and God remained a silent spectator to his suffering.

         Scripture teaches us that ‘God is light and in Him there is no darkness’ and then we feel that when we are in Him and He is in us with the Holy Spirit, how can we be in darkness (1 John 1:5)? But if we search deep enough, we can identify the reason for some sickness or other problems coming on us and it could be sinful living for a time; ill-management of money or relationships with others and with God and we have the Scriptures to understand this. The Holy Spirit would reveal the reason if we seek the answers.

         But why does allow such situations to develop in our lives? A problem can defeat or develop you as per how you react to it. The promise of God’s Word is, ‘All things work out for the good of those who love God’ (Romans 8:28). God uses these for our development though we do not perceive the real purpose most of the times and listed here are some of the ways He uses the trials for our good.

        First, to direct you– Apostle Paul while on trial before King Agrippa confessed to the warning from God on his journey to Damascus before his new birth, ‘it is hard for you to kick against the goads’ (Acts 26:12-14).  Goads are to urge movement of animals in a particular manner. Two, to inspect you – All trials and troubles test our faith and God’s command to Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrificial offering was one such test (Genesis 22). Apostle Paul was encouraged by God, ‘My grace is sufficient for you’ and he could then declare, therefore I rejoice in my weakness. Our problems teach us patience. Three, to correct – A trial, its resultant pain and failure are great teachers. Four, to protect from something more serious – Innumerable examples are there when someone missed a flight and death in the same aircraft crash or to lose a job but get saved from participation in an ongoing crime in the organization. Fifth, to perfect – “For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined… we went through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfillment” (Psalm 66:10-12).  Problems are used by God to develop our character for our ‘trials produce perseverance and perseverance character’ (Romans 5:3-4). In our moment of darkness we are to trust in the Lord for in your trials, God is the only source of strength and protection (Isaiah 26:4).

        What does ‘Trust’ mean? – Sennacherib, king of Assyria, came up against the kingdom of Judah and his commander Rabshakeh, questioned the Israelites, ‘in whom have you placed your confidence or trust?’ (Isaiah 36:4). The Hebrew word ‘bitachon’ derived from betach means trust or faith. What is bitachon or trust? Trust is not believing that all will be well and even if I drive very fast when I am late, I will be safe. That is foolishness and wishful thinking. Bitachon is trusting that 1) God creates reality moment by moment which reflects His awareness, involvement and compassion and 2) if we become aware of the end point of our journey, we would like it to be in the same manner.

        Nothing happens without God’s will. God’s answer to Job contained details of all His acts revealing that He is always in control and nothing surprises Him but there is great difference between His will and involvement. God has willed that I should be born but He allows me freewill though I remain a part of His creation. He set up various laws of nature and will not change those but still He allows miracles through His hand on someone to reveal His Sovereign authority and control. Trusting in God’s promise, Joshua stopped sun and the moon for a while. I was fired upon by terrorists in Kashmir but God intervened that the firers hand shook and I was saved. He could have allowed that and the bullets would have hit me.

        God’s way of creating reality is always compassionate. Trust does not mean that there will be no questions but believing that the answers exist but are not revealed to me at the moment but are good. Questions do not mean lack of faith but thinking that question is the answer is lack of faith but the difference is whether we doubt God or self. Bitachon means believing that there is an end to the story and that end is very good and all our doubts will then get cleared. But we operate in the physical world and our battles are in the spiritual realm which is beyond our perception and the grand finale takes place in the spiritual and there every believer will be declared victorious in our Lord (Ephesians 6:12).

        Stephen’s witnessing of Lord Jesus angered the Jewish elders and others but ‘he being full of the Holy Spirit, looked into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Lord Jesus standing at the right hand of God’. He called onto God saying, ‘Lord Jesus receive my spirit’ (Acts 7:55-59). We read and applaud the ending for this first martyr’s faith where a seemingly ordinary man made a heroic choice and his soul is forever enjoying a state of illumination and closeness to God in the spiritual world. Even Lord Jesus stood up from His throne to welcome him into His Divine presence. But his widow and children, had he been married, would have been anguished at this dreadful end of the story. 

      The main trial of bitachon is that we being so close to the events that it is virtually impossible for us to view them with a perspective while the end is hidden from us. We are like deaf people at a music concert where we see the conductor’s gestures but fail to understand the meaning. Bitachon is not saying, I want no obstacles but it is saying that the obstacles and trails are there so that I can overcome them in the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit and become what He wants me to become – a victorious person in my Lord. It is not about success in overcoming but my attitude on seeing the problem. Whether I complain and give up or appreciate that God has put it in my life for my benefit for every test is for my promotion. Although it is difficult to see God’s hand in life’s dark moments but we must remain conscious of God’s control in everything. We are in between the period of the Son of Joseph, the Servant King and the Son of David, the King and Judge. This period is the most difficult time and the Book of Revelation clearly defines this.

       In my period of darkness, I will examine my life for any unconfessed sin (Psalm 66:18) and like Job I will surrender to God’s sovereign authority. I will seek His guidance and listen to what God is saying through my trials and also recognize that silence can be a sign of His closeness and His trust and finally I will keep talking to God. So even though I do not like what is happening but I will not surrender to my problems but use my present state to take me forward. I am going to remain steadfast in my love for God, in love towards others and in sharpening the ‘sword of the Spirit through learning and meditating on the Word of God.

          Self sufficiency versus surrender – We pretend self sufficiency and for this we consult astrologers and soothsayers. King Jehoshaphat learnt about a great multitude coming to attack and he was afraid. He does not hide the fear but set himself to seek the Lord and asks all others to join him in a fast. We answer a question about our well being, that all is great, and attempt to hide our pain, fears, loneliness, brokenness, struggles or despair (2 Chronicles 20). But this King prays to God, ‘We are powerless against this great horde that comes against us; neither do we know what to do, but our eyes are on you’. He asks all others to join him and while he has no plan but does not panic. He builds his hope in God remembering the promises and presence of God and His passion about His glory and keeping all His promises. So we are told, ‘Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need’ (Hebrews 4:16).

       Assured by God’s promises I boldly declare, ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil’ and that ‘surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life’ for in faith I am part of God’s heavenly family. 

     God’s reply may not come to me, and Jahaziel declared to King Jehoshaphat, ‘The battle is not ours but God’s’ and ‘Do not fear; God will fight for us; we will win’ (2 Chronicle 20:15; 17). As we share our burdens with other believers and seek the Lord together, God’s answer will surely come, even through someone else. Often the church members hardly know each other whereas members of the first church were close, self giving, meeting the needs of others and sharing all (Acts 2). Today a prayer request is taken as an excuse to gossip and answers from God are not forthcoming easily. Jehoshaphat and others worshipped God and bowed their heads while the singers praised the LORD God with a loud voice. But do we pause in our troubles and believe God’s promises and Holy Spirit’s witness. Jehoshaphat did a surprising thing and singers worshipping God were deployed to lead the army ‘And when they began to sing and to praise’, the LORD started to fight for them. And God made the Moabites, the Ammonites and the army of Seir fight and kill each other.

       But how can I worship God when facing overwhelming odds and there is no specific word from God? That is ‘bitachon’, trust that He is with me and the end of the story of my life is great. The Scripture promise is very clear that those who are predestined are called, the called are justified, and those who are justified are also glorified and when God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:30-31). So I have to lay down my self sufficiency, welcome others into the situation and pray and worship God for His intervention while leaving the ‘end of the story to Him. I have to then follow Apostle Paul’s advice, ‘to live is Christ and to die is gain’ for either way I am victorious (Philippians 1:21). 

       God has designed the universe to work in this way only. We must give up self sufficiency and be fully dependant on God for everything we need and when He intervenes He alone gets the glory. We may presume that we are blessed when life goes well and cursed when it does not, but every trouble is a blessing when it makes us stronger, and prosperity is a curse if it drives us away from God. ‘Even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day’, and we look unto Him to turn our darkness into His light (Psalm 139:12).

        If you are facing trouble, ask God to make you stronger for Him and if things are going your way, ask God to help you use your prosperity for Him. As per His Word we are to walk only on the ‘narrow path’ chosen and defined by Lord Jesus for He is the ‘initiator and finisher of our faith’. In His Divine presence and guidance, even the darkness becomes light for ‘in Him there is no darkness’. Like King Jehoshaphat, then we also sing His praises while marching on to face the trials brought about by the enemy and claim the victory in the Savior’s mighty name! 

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