Sudden Disaster

You need not be afraid of sudden disaster

    or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,

26 for the Lord is your security.

    He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.

Proverbs 3:25-26 (NLT)

Reading the third chapter of Proverbs this week, this particular couplet of verses jumped out at me. Have no fear of sudden disaster, the word directs us, and yet I find myself often drifting into fearing the worst, or worst-case scenarios. My anxious mind wanders into negative places, and I start playing the “what if” game. Minutes can go by, and in my head I’ve crafted unlikely situations and pushed them out to their extremities, no matter how implausible.

When I read this verse yesterday morning, I realise that I do fear sudden disaster more often than I care to admit.

I do not mind telling you that I am prone to anxiety, and indeed have suffered with it at times. Anxiety is more than just worry, although it may start that way. Anxiety can be crippling, and it can cause us to shut down almost completely. There have been times when I’ve felt a knot in my stomach; a nervousness that I couldn’t explain. Perhaps you have experienced something similar yourself, or know others who have.

Sadly, it is all too common these days. Stress, anxiety, and depression affect many people in a whole host of ways. I am no psychologist, and of course if you need help with any of these things, do go and see your doctor.

These verses help us though, and so I want to consider them today.

They firstly say we need not fear sudden disaster, nor the destruction which falls upon the wicked. Why not? Because of what is said in verse 26.

The Lord is your security. That’s the key right there. We desire security in many respects. We want our homes to be secure from break in. We want our jobs to be secure from loss or redundancy. We want our family to be secure from harm – in this life and the next. We want to feel and be secure in all aspects of life.

When we feel anxious, or fear sudden disaster, we do not feel secure. We feel there is a threat, known or unknown, which may befall us. What if I lose my job? What if I get injured? What if my spouse leaves me? What if… fill in the blank for you.

Yet God is our security. He is our fortress and high tower. In Him, we need not fear these things.

Don’t misunderstand, this is not a cast iron promise that nothing bad will ever happen. Life itself is proof of that fact. But the Bible is no liar, and we must understand what it means for the Lord to “be our security”.

Security in Christ means that no matter what happens in this life a) He will be right there with us, and b) We have eternal security that can never be stolen or damaged.

In this life, we will face trouble and danger. If you don’t believe me, just live. That’s not to be negative of course, but things just go wrong in this fallen world full of fallen people. If we stick with Christ however, we know that He will never leave us nor forsake us. We know that no matter what happens on this earth, He is working for the good of His people who are called according to His purpose. What happens to you may not be “good”, but we can trust God to bring good out of it.

I believe He wants us to have a good life here on the earth. Like any good Father, He wants us to have blessings and live a good and enjoyable life. Our enjoyment is not His primary concern though, and that’s the thing we forget sometimes. God deserves and will obtain maximum glory for Himself, and if that means us going through a time of trial, then so be it.

God also takes a longer perspective than us. While we go through trouble, it may feel like the end of the world to us. And even if it is, there is a new world to look forward to in eternity. Even if it was not true that God wants to bless us here on earth, we have a home in heaven to look forward to. That will compensate for any discomfort, trial or trouble we face while alive on the earth. A life of 80 or 90 years is a mere blip next to eternity.

So, returning to the passage at hand (I hadn’t forgotten!). We need not fear sudden disaster because the Lord is our security. We can trust Him to bring good into our lives, and know that the bad also has a purpose. Our security in Him is eternal, and not temporal.

This truth, if we accept and rejoice in it, is hugely comforting. I need not fear sudden disaster because firstly, it might never happen, and secondly because there is a heavenly eternity to focus on. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Nothing. That being the case, we need not fear sudden disaster coming upon us.

Pearl of Wisdom #8

Wisdom means making decisions today that you will be happy with tomorrow.

There are a number of definitions of wisdom I suppose, but I happen to like this one!

How often do we make choices one day, that we regret the next? Ultimately life is a series of choices and we must make ones that will benefit us, not harm us. It’s not always clear which is the right choice, so we must consider God’s will and about which choice is best not just for the here and now, but for the future also.

Take a simple example such as healthy eating. Perhaps you are someone who wants to lose weight, and even if not, you can still understand the point here. Do you eat the doughnut, or do you take the apple? In the moment, the doughnut may seem the most tempting, but consider not just how you feel now, but how you will feel later when standing on the scales or trying on new clothes.

Similarly, when making a purchase, it may be tempting right now, but will the monthly payments for the next four years really be what you want to do with your money?

Wisdom means choosing not what you want right now, but what will be best in the future. Make decisions today that you will be happy with tomorrow.

King of Angels (and everything else)

All the Benefits of Believing (ATBOB) #10

The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Psalm 103:18-22 (ESV)

I’m slightly sad to say we’ve reached the end of this amazing psalm! But not quite the end of the series. I want to discuss the final few verses in this post, and then will put up another post next time summarising what we have learned.

Enthroned in the heavens

God is on the throne, and that makes Him King. And there is no higher throne in heaven or on earth. God’s throne is above all others, and He is the King of kings.

We must not forget this truth. God is indeed our Father, and He loves us as dear children (as we’ve seen in earlier verses). But He is also King, and One to whom we will all bow the knee one day. God is deserving of our fear (reverence and respect) even as part of His loving family.

God’s Kingdom rules over all

Again we find another use of the word “all.” This time it points to the fact that God is over all, and that He is Supreme in all creation. We may at times foolishly think that we’re in charge of our lives, household, family or career. While we have the God-given right to make our own choices and to choose our own path in life, we must all always remember that one day we will stand before Him and realise who is really in charge!

God’s kingdom reaches over us all. None of us are outside of His rule or influence, even if we say we don’t believe in Him. Some describe hell as a place without God, and with folly believe that is what they are experiencing now. Wrong! While God does not impose Himself on those who reject Him, He is still the One who holds the universe together. His grace is still extending to the earth and those who follow Him, so this is not a world untouched by God.

In our modern world, we’ve perhaps lost the impact of Kingship and royalty. I write this not long after the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan in Windsor, UK, and while millions watched and thousands lined the streets to see “royalty”, they are seen as are many celebrities in our culture. Less than 500 years ago, the Kings and Queens of Europe had great power and wealth, and commanded as rulers with the authority to give and take life itself. While many of their actions were questionable at times, we must at least respect the power they held, and bear it in mind when we consider God as King over all.

Angels and more

David goes on to encourage different groups to praise the Lord. He starts by exhorting the angels to bless the Lord.

To understand angels and their ministry would take far more than one simple blog post, but we do get some insights here. Firstly, angels are messengers and servants of God. To tell them to worship, is to tell them to fulfil their created purpose.

Angels respond to God’s word

We read that “you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word” speaking of the angels. There are many reasons to speak aloud God’s Word and this is one of those reasons. The angels respond to it. They don’t respond to fear, worry or doubt, but to the very Word of God.

Along with the angels, David calls on the hosts of heaven and the ministers (servants) to bless God also. Ministers here, in my view, aren’t necessarily ordained ministers but rather all those who live to serve God. That can include you and I.

Finally David closes his wonderful song where he began it. His very first words were “Bless the Lord, O my soul” and likewise his last words here as well.

It is as though he starts by stirring himself up to praise, lists so many reasons to do so, and then again calls on his own soul to praise. More on this next time.

Do you think it was easier to stir up his soul the first time David said, “Bless the Lord,” or the last time?

I don’t know where you are at today, or what is going on in your life, but let me encourage you to praise the Lord. You will certainly feel better for doing so.

Pearl of Wisdom #5

If you know how to worry, then you also know how to meditate.

The word “meditation” can conjure up a mixture of images in our minds these days. For many, it refers to something like Buddist meditation, or some other form of this “spiritual” or “religious” practice.

For the Christian however, meditation means something quite different. Instead of focussing on ourselves, we focus on God and His Word. Meditation simply means to chew over or mull the meaning of a particular Scripture – the idea being to get every bit of goodness we can from it. It also enables the Word to get rooted deep down inside of us.

If you know how to worry, then you know how to meditate. Worrying is just negative meditation. Rolling a problem around your mind over and over. But instead of focussing on the problem, why not focus on something positive? Take a relevant Scripture and mull it over all day long. Just see what benefits you get from it. If nothing else, your mind will be on something useful.

Don’t worry, meditate!