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A Heart For God: Distressful Times, the Valley of the Shadow of Death, Trust and the Work of God

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Distressful Times, the Valley of the Shadow of Death, Trust and the Work of God

"Jesus said to them, 'The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.' And they were greatly distressed." (Matthew 17:22-23; ESV)

We are living in distressful times. The world is teetering. What are we to make of it? After all, as believers in Jesus Christ, I thought His plans for us were for our welfare and not for calamity? (Jeremiah 29:11) Then why are things turning so bad?

Peter made a huge statement. He recognized Jesus as the Messiah. Wow! (Mark 8:29) But rather than go to Starbucks and have a Latte over it, Jesus began to talk about His death instead. Huh? (Mark 8:31) He was to die (which was bad enough) and, on top of that, cruelly. It was awfully distressing to the disciples to hear it.

And sometimes God's path leads through the valley of the shadow of death. (Psalm 23:4)

There are many reasons for this.

For one thing, so many are comfortable. So many are unshaken. And these will leave this life (die) comfortable and unshaken ~ and without the Lord! ~ unless He allows for all they trust in apart from Him to be shown for what it really is: Fleeting. (Hebrews 12:27)

We are not to trust in money, 401ks, retirement savings, our career, our personality/charisma. We are not to trust in politicians (unfortunately, many of whom have compromised their own faith to get to office). We are not to trust in anything apart from Christ.

A second reason God's path leads through the valley of the shadow of death sometimes ~ and the most important one for us who already believe ~ how else do we learn to trust Christ in an ever-developing and increasing way? How else do we become less and less and He become more and more (John 3:30) except through distress?

Are you distressed? God is busy in your life.

Trust Him (alone).

"He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6)

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