August 6, 2020
Trusting God in Trying Times
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"‘Don't be afraid,' the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.'" 2 Kings 6:16 (NIV)
One phone call, and my life crumbled into a pile of dust easily blown away by shock and unbelief. In a moment, my trust in God was tested as never before. Could I trust Him with this?
Trusting God would certainly be easier if we could see Him and His angel armies face to face. But even though we can't see the physical realm, we can trust they're in the spiritual realm - a realm more powerful that anything we could ever imagine. Even when we don't see God working, we can be sure He is.
God shows us a powerful glimpse into that spiritual realm in 2 Kings 6:8-18. Ancient Aram (modern-day Syria) was fighting the Israelites, and God used His prophet Elisha to predict how the Arameans would attack, to warn the Israelite army.
The Bible explains that this enraged the king of Aram, so he began plotting to attack the city and cut off Elisha from helping Israel.
But God stepped in and protected Elisha and his servant and even changed what they were allowed to see.
"When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?' the servant asked. ‘Don't be afraid,' the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.' Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha" (2 Kings 6:15-17, NIV).
I've felt like this before. Haven't you? Difficult circumstances press in from every side. "This is too much for me!" I cry, "I can't do this anymore. I don't even want to go out of my house. Where are You, God? You promised You would never leave me or forsake me, but I don't sense Your presence. Why aren't You doing something? I want out of this story!"
Honest. Raw. Somewhat embarrassing to admit. Sensing the enemies all around, we're surrounded by problems we cannot solve and people we cannot control.
Elisha's servant probably felt the same way.
His faith was as flimsy as the tent flaps he stood behind. Elisha's was as strong as the tent peg anchoring the canvas in place.
"‘Don't be afraid,' the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them'" (2 Kings 6:16).
Did you catch that? Do not be afraid. God is greater.
How can we better trust God during trying times? By remembering, "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them" (v. 16b). Elisha knew there was more power and strength in the unseen reality of the heavenly host than the seen reality of the enemy's army.
Elisha didn't pray for God to send an army, because the warring angels on chariots of fire were already there. Elisha simply prayed his servant would be allowed to see them at work.
I always pictured the angel armies and Arameans on opposite hillsides, looking down and squaring off. But that's not what the Bible says. In reality, the enemies surrounded Elisha in a circle. At the same time, the warring angels were surrounding the enemies - a circle around a circle.
Friend, God is surrounding whatever difficult situation is surrounding you. Jesus painted this same picture in John 14:20 when He said, "I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you" (NIV).
God most likely won't pull back the curtain separating the physical realm from the spiritual realm for us to see, but we can be assured: We're surrounded by a heavenly host of angels, ready to protect us in our deepest struggles.
Lord, open my eyes so I might see what is already there. Open my heart so I might believe what is already there. Strengthen my faith so I might trust that You are surrounding what is surrounding me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 5:17, "But Jesus replied, ‘My Father is always working, and so am I.'" (NLT)
Do you ever get intimidated by the Bible? And find yourself wondering, How can I possibly understand it? P31 Online Bible Studies and First 5 have teamed up to create a study to help you understand the whole Bible in just 40 days! In The Answers to Your Deepest Longings: 40 Days Through the Bible, you'll take a journey through the storyline of the Bible to see major themes, how they connect, and what that means for us as we read the Bible today. This study kicks off September 7, so sign up today!
Do you want the kind of faith that ushers in total trust? That knows God is always working? That tells the devil, "Be gone!" The kind of mountain-moving, giant-slaying faith that keeps your feet on solid ground - no matter how shaky? If so, then Sharon Jaynes' book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go, Move Forward, Live Bold, is just for you. It also includes a study guide.
Visit Sharon's website for a free, downloadable, 7-day "Trusting God in Trying Times" devotional.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Consider writing today's key verse on several sticky notes, and place them where you can see them often.
What's one situation in your life right now where you're having trouble trusting in God? What words of wisdom might God be speaking to your heart about His awareness of your situation and His protection in your circumstances? Share with us in the comments!
© 2020 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.