“Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord”— Psalm 112:6-7(NIV).
Has the bad news in 2020 left you fearful? Tested your faith? Left you worried about tomorrow? This year has been tougher than others for most people, at least in my lifetime.
While 2007 was a tough year for my family—the unexpected loss of my father, almost losing my oldest son to an accident, and my own hospitalization because of a dog attack—there is no comparison to this year’s chaos. A worldwide pandemic, job losses, and political, social, and civil unrest have left most of us reeling.
For me, digging deeper into scripture has brought a peace that man cannot. I’m trusting God to use this turmoil for His glory. And I believe He will. He will use us, if we allow Him to, to help bring a spiritual revival. I believe, however, it’s up to us to let go of the bitterness that has divided Christians on the political and social front.
Letting Go of the Bitterness
Letting go of bitterness and trusting God to bring reconciliation among His people requires us to participate. Families and churches have also been divided politically and socially this year. I’ve witnessed this division in my friends’ families, and I’ve seen people in my own church leave because of politics.
The Biblical story of Joseph and his brothers is a great example of family division and reconciliation, caused not by politics, but by sibling jealousy. It’s a story of redemption and forgiveness. The most loved son of Jacob, Joseph received a gift of a coat of many colors from his father. After Joseph reports having dreams of his brothers bowing down to him, jealousy of their youngest brother grew. They sold him into slavery to a traveling caravan of Ishmaelites who took him to Egypt, where they sold him to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard.
With the Lord’s presence, Joseph finds favor with Potiphar and the keeper of the prison. Again, with God’s help, Joseph interprets dreams, including those of the Pharaoh that predict the famine. Because of his God-given ability, Joseph is promoted to the chief administrator of Egypt. In that capacity, Joseph prepares his adopted country for the famine.
God Meant it for Good
Later, because of the severe famine spread across the land, Joseph’s brothers seek help in Egypt, hoping to find the necessary supplies to survive. The brothers, unaware of their brother’s status, don’t recognize Joseph, but he treats them kindly, when he could have refused to help them.
Eventually, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers, and forgives them for selling him into slavery. What a moving testimony to the power of reconciled relationships! Later, when their father has died, the brothers fear Joseph will inflict the revenge he has been withholding. Joseph weeps, however, and treats them kindly, while recognizing God’s sovereign purpose in the events.
In Genesis 50:20, Joseph tells his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
When Things Look Bleak
Challenges we face each day can test our trust in God and His plans for our lives. Fear and anxiety can rob us of our faith. Our future may seem uncertain right now, and worry can take up too much room in our heart and mind.
However, when we remember God is already in our tomorrows, trusting that He has a greater plan than we can ever conceive, brings reassurance and a new spring of hope. Following are several scriptures to remind us of his promises:
- Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
- Joshua 1:9 (NIV) “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
- Psalm 56:3-4 (TLB) “But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in you. Yes, I will trust the promises of God. And since I am trusting him, what can mere man do to me?”
Grab a concordance or use your favorite search engine to find more scriptures about placing your trust in God. Using these scriptures, turn them into prayers, and write them down on index cards as reminders.