10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10 (NASB)
I saw an Christian encouragement meme a few days ago that went something like this, “When you see a Christian who is at peace in the midst of chaos what you are witnessing is a mature believer who has been through the fire and has learned where their strength comes from and in whom to trust.” Of course the source of their strength is the Lord and the one in whom they trust is also Him. Our enemy has his puppets in power seemingly everywhere right now. What is their message continually? Be afraid! Worry! Doom and gloom! This affects everything. Yes, we are in Christ, but we also must make our way through this fallen world on the way to the Celestial City. That means we have to make a living, prepare for retirement, somehow have the right medical care and insurance, etc. In other countries those things I mentioned aren’t even options. People are just after their next meal and struggle to provide for their families. This world is fallen and Satan has been allowed by God to be the ruler of those in darkness.
I have mentioned this before. When the Covid-19 stuff first started in 2020 I was aghast at how some Christian bloggers signed onto the panic and fear-mongering side of things. I confronted some of them and my questions always revolved around this, “Where is your faith?” God is sovereign. God is omnipotent. God is omniscient. Those who know Him are fully in His hands and fully protected from the evil one.
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30 (NASB)
Those who have an eternal focus, that is, they are spirit-led believers who abide in Christ and are living sacrifices who have taken up their crosses and are following their Lord have a full understanding of what Jesus was saying in these verses. They, like the Apostle Paul, long to be with Him, but remain here obediently serving Him until called home no matter the circumstances.
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again. Philippians 1:21-26 (NASB)
This should be our goal as well. Spurgeon understood this. God used him mightily. He suffered much in his short life (56 years), but God gave him the ability to preach to thousands and through his ministry thousands came to Christ. Even so, he suffered much in ridicule from those jealous of his ministry and also from physical ailments that led to his shortened life. But, here we are in the 21st Century still reading his devotions and his books and sermons. What a blessing! Here is his devotion from Morning by Morning for December 22, which inspired much of post above.
C. H. Spurgeon
“I will strengthen thee.”—Isaiah 41:10.
GOD has a strong reserve with which to discharge this engagement; for He is able to do all things. Believer, till thou canst drain dry the ocean of omnipotence, till thou canst break into pieces the towering mountains of almighty strength, thou never needest to fear. Think not that the strength of man shall ever be able to overcome the power of God. Whilst the earth’s huge pillars stand, thou hast enough reason to abide firm in thy faith. The same God who directs the earth in its orbit, who feeds the burning furnace of the sun, and trims the lamps of heaven, has promised to supply thee with daily strength. While He is able to uphold the universe, dream not that He will prove unable to fulfil His own promises. Remember what He did in the days of old, in the former generations. Remember how He spake and it was done; how He commanded, and it stood fast. Shall He that created the world grow weary? He hangeth the world upon nothing; shall He who doth this be unable to support His children? Shall He be unfaithful to His word for want of power? Who is it that restrains the tempest? Doth not He ride upon the wings of the wind, and make the clouds His chariots, and hold the ocean in the hollow of His hand? How can He fail thee? When He has put such a faithful promise as this on record, wilt thou for a moment indulge the thought that He has out promised Himself, and gone beyond His power to fulfill? Ah, no! Thou canst doubt no longer.
O thou who art my God and my strength, I can believe that this promise shall be fulfilled, for the boundless reservoir of Thy grace can never be exhausted, and the overflowing storehouse of Thy strength can never be emptied by Thy friends or rifled by Thine enemies.
“Now let the feeble all be strong,
And make Jehovah’s arm their song