“And you tell me over and over and over again my friend, ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction … no, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction” – P.F. Sloan
Confidence in a Crisis
If you harbor dreams of a world filled with peace, harmony and goodwill toward men, your chances of finding such a Shangri-La here on spaceship earth are slim to none. Sometimes it can appear like the whole planet is a combat zone. Is the world teetering on the eve of destruction? Let’s see, racial unrest, economic chaos, proliferating global terrorism, widespread natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, etc., and, well … is it any wonder that many believe things are only going to get worse from here? Let’s just say that I wouldn’t look to the daily news for confidence building.
The ancient scriptures predict the eventual demise of mankind here on spaceship earth. We do not know exactly when that will happen. Even the Liberator Jesus on his visit to this planet said that he did not know the precise moment: “But about that actual day and time no one knows” not even the angels of Heaven, nor the Son, only the Father.“ (Matthew 24:36) There are a few clues scattered among the words of the prophets, but only the Ancient of Days (God, the father of all spirits) knows for sure. In the interim, we only have this one life to live, so let’s enjoy it as best we can and make the most of our time.
Have you ever considered that God may allow all of this bedlam for a reason? Through crisis, we often learn to have confidence in Him and not in human resourcefulness alone. In the face of situations that seem hopeless, I find this quote from the Newer Testament scriptures to be a persuasive reminder:
18 “So we do not look at what we can see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys … which we have not yet seen. The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)
On earth, we live a transitory life. The visible things happening all around us are only temporary. The invisible realm that exists beyond the laughter and tears of this momentary existence is everlasting. As a Christian, I am always learning to look beyond what I can touch and see. It is from within that eternal dimension – the dwelling place of our unseen Creator – that I draw my confidence and my strength every day.
Paul, knew this better than most. A great leader of the early New Testament era, he traveled extensively sowing the seeds of “The Way” that would eventually be called Christianity. His journeys traversing the ancient world are nothing short of extraordinary. More than once he faced the possibility of imminent death. In a letter to the Christian community at ancient Corinth (a city-state located about midway between Athens and Sparta), he wrote:
8-10 “We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 – New Living Translation –
Looking back on the difficulties that his missionary team faced, Paul concedes that at one point they all expected to die. Out of options and overwhelmed by extreme anxiety, he told the Corinthian Christians “ …we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God …” Paul believed that the extreme adversity they endured served to demonstrate that our trust must always be in God. “We have placed our confidence in him”, he said, “and he will continue to rescue us.”
In times of crisis, people reach for meaning. Meaning is strength. Our survival may depend on our seeking and finding it.” – Dawna Markova
The Liberator Jesus – God within You
Think about this, the Divine Spirit (God) is both above all things and at the same time living within all things. When the Liberator Jesus came to the earth, he was called Emanuel (which means God-with-us). God with us is now God within us. Paul told the ancient Galatian Christians,
20 “As far as religion is concerned; I may consider that I died on the cross with Christ. And my present life is not that of the old “I”, but the living Christ within me. The bodily life I now live, I live believing in the Son of God, who loved me and sacrificed himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
The scriptures teach us that Jesus himself was the payment for the recovery of the human race – he swapped his life for our lives. Paul told the Galatians that he was vicariously put to death on that Roman cross “with Christ“. In theological terms, it is known as the substitutionary death. Every true believer (genuine Christian) goes through this same process. Our metaphorical death triggers an internal makeover (also known as being Born Again). We then inherit the nature and the power of the Divine Spirit who comes to live within our human spirit. Yea, I know, all of this can sounds pretty wild. But not too long ago, so did space travel.
Paul put it this way when he wrote to the Christians at ancient Colossae,
27 “For I am a minister of the Church by divine commission, a commission granted to me for your benefit and for a special purpose: that I might fully declare God’s word” that sacred mystery which up to now has been hidden in every age and every generation, but which is now as clear as daylight to those who love God. They are those to whom God has planned to give a vision of the full wonder and splendor of his secret plan for the sons of men. And the secret is simply this: Jesus Christ in you! Yes, Christ in you bringing with him the hope of all glorious things to come.” Colossians 1:27 – J. B. Philips –
It’s no longer a secret: the Creator of the universe actually lives in us! Thus, his indwelling Divine Spirit provides the confidence we need to move forward assertively in life. Sure, we will face some obstacles and threatening circumstances. But, like Paul, we can boldly declare, “God will continue to rescue us.” Our creator wants us to learn to operate in the faith that Jesus demonstrated when He visited this planet. If His Spirit and power are truly in us, His confidence is also in us. It all comes back to TRUST. Do YOU trust God? In hopelessness, helplessness or extreme anxiety – absolute trust in the Almighty (God) is essential. As the creator and sustainer of the Universe, He is NOT worried about anything!
“Faith without work is dead and work without Faith is dead. For those who aren’t familiar with Faith, it’s simply to have absolute confidence in God.” – Author Unknown
Confidence in God has Benefits
Confidence in God makes things possible. It relieves us of worry and mental torment and it brings healing into our lives. It enables us to move in the spiritual gifts, to hear the voice of God and to fulfill our calling. Confidence in God opens the door for all of His promises to be made clear and visible. The benefits of confidence in the divine, supernatural, unseen Almighty One are incalculable.
But first, you must trust in the completed mission of Jesus for the cleansing of all your past failures. Through the substitutionary atonement, God legally exchanged your imperfect record for the perfect blamelessness of Jesus. It’s a gift you receive by placing your confidence in the one “who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20 – J. B. Phillips)
The Creator of all things can and does speak to his creation in our day. You must learn to listen for His voice and to be obedient when He speaks to you. Your confidence will grow as you see how God works in and through your life.
The next time you are overcome by worry, fear and doubt, try this; take a walk outside on a cloudless night and gaze at the splendor of the visible universe above. Now, consider the wisdom, understanding and omnipotent power of the architect of it all. Could that magnificent and unequaled master builder possibly look after your every need? Could He work supernatural power in your life to fulfill the purposes He has given to you? Could He make you a conduit of the gifts and power of His Holy Spirit?
I believe that He can. Indeed, I do.
May we pray?
God, it is easy to feel overwhelmed living in this dangerous world of darkness. Sometimes we feel trapped. Helplessly hopeless. When we forget who really is in control, remind us to put our absolute trust in you. And if we should have to face the gales of life head on, we are confident that you will either calm the storm or calm your child – but you will always be there to rescue us. In the name of the Liberator Jesus we pray. Amen.
Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is a noted author, broadcaster, a popular Bible teacher and a rabbid Coastal Junkie ®
For additional information write to: Coastal Life Ministries, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, Florida 34656