Walking through trials is never easy.
Consider the advice below from Irish biblical scholar Alec Moyter and then join us this Sunday at 10 am to hear a message for “him who walks in darkness and has no light” (Isaiah 50:10).
The difficulties and sufferings of life take us by surprise, but they should not. Jesus said, ‘If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you’ (John 15:20), or, as the hymn puts it, ‘It is the way the Master went/Shall not the
servant tread it still?’ All too often trials make us retire to the sidelines and ‘retire hurt’, but Isaiah teaches ‘No’. Time of trial, time for trust/Not time to leave but time to lean’. That’s the Jesus-way. Walking in darkness is no fun; it is a high risk situation and we seriously need the electric torch [flashlight], or even the homely candle. So far so good, but is it the torch of our own abilities, the candle of our own best efforts (‘I can cope’)? Yes indeed, the time of trial may demand our utmost efforts if we are to get through, but not effort arising from self-reliance. The effort called for is that seen in the Servant, determination to stay the course, constant come what may, but only doing so in the ‘strength that God supplies’, confident in His God, still walking in the time of trouble, but walking because trusting, walking because leaning. Four times over, and with tremendous emphasis in Isaiah’s Hebrew, the great divine title and name sounds out: ‘the Sovereign Yahweh’. He is in total command. If we are ‘in the soup’, then it is He who has decided what sort of soup it is! And at what temperature we must endure it! And how long it will last! He is a God who is truly God, Sovereign at all times, in all places, over all forces, in all circumstances. But He is always the Sovereign Yahweh, the God of all grace, who hears our cries of distress, knows our sorrows, and comes down to deliver (Exodus 3:7-8). The old prayer got it right: He ‘declares His almighty power most chiefly in showing mercy and pity’. A God worth knowing, and trusting, an arm to lean on.
“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…” (Deuteronomy 33:27)