Thanking God in Troublesome Times
Of course, thanking God should be a continuing, every day, even every moment, condition of the believer’s heart. It is not that one is always verbally praying, but that his heart is always in a state of thanksgiving. This is true for people who know in their heart and walk what it is to have fellowship with God.
But there are times when thanksgiving is more prominent in the believer’s life. Such a time is the present when the world seems to be caving in all around us. Many are fearful for what a week or day may bring forth. Listening to the current news can be very disturbing, especially if one does not know the Lord Jesus as his or her Savior.
For the one who knows the Lord Jesus as Savior, however, he has much to thank the Lord for, even in times of uncertainty and distress. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (Jn. 14:27). The peace that God gives is not conditional upon circumstances, but is a continuing, constant peace in all matters of life. It is the peace that King David had when he said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou at with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me” (Psa. 23:4).
It is the peace that the Apostle Paul urged when he said, “Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).
Now, what are some things that the believer can thank the Lord for even in troublesome times? The list is perhaps unending, but let’s consider a few very important ones:
He can thank God for the security of his salvation. A believer is always thankful for his salvation, but especially in times of great turmoil. Without the Lord as Savior, one would tend to be very anxious, even fearful. Without the Lord, all of one’s security is tied up in the world, in all of the things he possesses. In the parable of the rich fool, Jesus said, “…Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15). In the parable, the rich man considered all of his riches and made provision for even more. After making his plans for the future, he said, “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 15:19). The problem was, he did not take God into consideration. Then note, “But God said unto him, thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; then whose shall those things be , which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 15:20-21).
The point is, the fool faced death with no spiritual preparation. He was accountable to God, but with no preparation to meet Him! Believers know that they are accountable to God, but they have made the necessary preparation by trusting the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. The Lord Himself became accountable for their sins by dying on the cross that they might be forgiven! Now, even in troublesome times, the believer knows in his heart that he is ready and prepared to meet God! Troublesome times in no way diminish one’s readiness to meet God. It might be war, disease, hunger, or any number of other things, but the believer is always ready to meet God if he has been at the cross to ask God for His forgiveness for his sins.
Yes, the Christian can know, even in troublesome times, that his sins are forgiven and he is ready to meet God. He has nothing to do himself as everything has already been done for him! He has only to believe and
trust the One who loved him so much to die for him!
He can thank God for His provision in time of great need. Often in troublesome times, we can do nothing. All we can do is wait upon Him. Hopefully, we have come to realize this earlier in our lives. In difficult times, our faith in the Lord and His Word is so comforting. It is such a comforting thing to realize that God knows our every need. Jesus said in reference to our needs, “…your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:32- 33). Again, Jesus said, “…for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him” (Matt. 6:8).
As we face great losses, such as the death of a loved one or even our own death, God is there to minister to us of His presence and truth. As we have established a relationship with Him, we can rely upon Him to meet all of our greatest needs.
As I write this, I realize some may question how this can be true or how we can really realize this for ourselves. For those who have trusted Jesus as their Savior, they have entered into a personal relationship with Him. They have learned something of what it is to walk by faith and not by sight. They know what are the most valuable and precious things of life. They have eyes to see and ears to hear that which is truly of God. They trust God in the midst of the hardships of life because they learned to trust Him in the good times of life.
Further, true believers know what has true value in life. They identify with the message Jesus taught, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24). The Apostle Paul taught, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:1-2). If one has not been taught his truth by the Holy Spirit Himself, he cannot really grasp very well God’ s provision in the time of crisis.
Certainly a time of crisis is a good time to examine one’s relationship to God. God always hears and responds to the repentant sinner. He can thank God for the many promises given by God regarding his future. While we do not know what a particular day may hold for us, we do know that He holds our future in His hands. We need never worry about His continuing love and care for us. His love is an enduring love. Some enduring promises include the following:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation: but is passed from death unto life” (Jn. 5:24).
“This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread which I shall give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (Jn. 6:50-51).
“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (II Cor. 5:17).
“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).
“For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better” (Phil. 1:23).
“For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from which also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).
He can thank God for the ministry of the Holy Spirit to his heart in times of special need. Of course, the Holy Spirit always ministers to the hearts of obedient believers, but we are especially conscious of His presence when we are facing difficult times. It is then that we especially look to Him for His comfort and direction. It is then that we pray for His special ministry to us, a ministry that no one else can possibly provide.
None other than the Holy Spirit can give us comfort in the midst of the difficult trials of life. When we are lonely, we have Jesus’ promise, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” He is an ever present Friend to those who know and trust Him. It should be noted that this is especially true for those who have previously come to know and love Him. Yes, He will certainly bless and lead us when we come to Him because of our special need, but how much better to have already established a relationship with Him.
When we are fearful, we have His Word to comfort our hearts. In this world, especially at this time, there are many things to be fearful of. We fear the decisions of ungodly leaders, but God is greater than any worldly leaders! God said, “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in heaven shall laugh. Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure” (Psa. 2:1-5). Ungodly leaders and planners will not prevail! They are indeed on a slippery slope.
When we are facing the end of life issues, Jesus comforts us with His glorious promise, “Let not your hear be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Fathers’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (Jn. 14:1-3). Yes, we will all die unless the Lord returns first, but we need not fear death as unbelievers do.
Even when a believer is troubled because of sins in his life, either past or present, he can rest in the complete forgiveness of God! Unforgiven sin causes worry and anxiety, even depression. One of the great truths of the Bible is the following, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I Jn. 1:9). This is a truth the believer can live by regardless of the conditions of the world about him.
Consider, though, this is more than just a fact written in the Bible. It is a glorious truth brought to our hearts by the ministry of the Holy Spirit! Indeed, it is the only thing that will bring peace and joy to our troubled hearts and restore fellowship with God in difficult times, or actually any time.
He can thank God for the revelation of His plan for the future. Whatever mans’ plans for the future of the world may be, it is only God’s plan that will be realized. Men have been planning for centuries what they hope and believe the future of the world will be, but their dreams for the future will never be fully realized. The dreams of a one world government, a one world economy, and a one world religion will indeed come to pass, even as we see it being formed today, but such is not the plan of God! It is the plan of Satan to elevate himself as the ruler of this world. The final form of this plan will be realized in the time of the tribulation and eventually be destroyed by God Himself! The Christian church will not be on earth during the tribulation because they will have been carried to heaven by the Lord Jesus Himself. (See I Thess. 4:13-18).
Yes, God’s plan for the future includes His return for all believers before the tribulation. Then, there will a time of great blessing as God fulfills His promise to the nation of Israel, and the blessings of all eternity with the Lord who loved them and died for them! Indeed, the best is yet to be for those who truly know the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior.
This article is necessarily brief and is but a brief look into what the believer can be thankful for in troublesome times.
The hearts of our family were saddened again by the death of Bette Jean’s Aunt, Alice Bertelson. Alice had been ill for a relatively short period of time and passed away on the morning of October 6, 2022. I say again because Bette Jean’s sister, Janet, passed away on September 8th. The funeral for Alice was held at Christ the king Lutheran Church south of Wilson. Alice had lived a full and fruitful life and passed away at the age of 92. She was greatly loved and will be greatly missed. Thankfully, the parting is brief for believers as they will be reunited in heaven!
BJ and I wish to extend to all of our readers a most blessed and joyous Thanksgiving. As noted above, believers have so much to be thankful for even in these times of turmoil and uncertainty. God is never in a state of chaos and He is never uncertain. He never has to wait to see how things are going to turn out. As we are identified with Him by faith in Jesus Christ, we can face the future with confidence.
Many of our readers know Pastor Le Roy and Beth Nelson. They have moved to Nashville, TN where they will live in close proximity to their son, Tim, and his family. They are looking forward to less cold in the winter months! They have been with us in our church for five years where they have served faithfully. They will be greatly missed by our church and community. We wish them the very best.