Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
October 14, 2012
Finding a way to face hard times without giving up
Life is hard. There are times when evil wins. We do the right thing but wrong still prevails. The wicked have the upper hand. We see a tiny light in the tunnel of our darkness but it turns out to be a train that runs over us.
Hard times can tempt us to throw up our hands and quit. Why keep trying to do the right thing when we see no positive results of our labor? Doubt and despair can overwhelm us. We wonder if the way of love really is the winning way.
In the midst of such perplexity it helps to remember that God allows trouble. He does not cause it but he does allow it. And he uses the difficulties of life to test our faith.
The Bible tells of many men and women whose faith was tested by dreadful trouble. One of my favorites is Daniel whose courageous response to adversity is most inspiring.
Let’s look at one event in Daniel’s life. One day the king gave Daniel and the wise men an impossible demand. He demanded that they tell him what he had dreamed and what the dream meant. The wise men gave up. No one could possibly know what the king had dreamed.
Daniel, however, turned to the Lord in prayer. He did not turn to his own cleverness; he turned to God. God answered Daniel’s prayer so Daniel could tell the king both his dream and its meaning.
How can this help us? It tells us something important about God – that he loves us and wants to help us just like he helped Daniel. Believe that and you have an important principle working for you!
When there seems to be no human solution we can turn to God. The world says, “Give up.” Faith says, “God will help you if you humbly turn to him and trust his guidance.”
Daniel believed what Jesus would teach us years later – “Nothing is impossible with God!” We can learn to trust God even when our situation seems utterly hopeless. No matter what the problem, God wants to help us. Believe that and you are half way home!
In the African nation of Zambia Alfred and Muumbe Kalembo had a problem. Their neighbors begged them to teach their small children to read and write. The only space available was a small room that served as Alfred’s study.
“If God wants us to have a school, he is able to make it happen,” the Kalembos said. So they decided to turn the little room into a school, naming it the “God Is Able School for Children.” Soon Muumbe was teaching ten children in that small room. Alfred and Muumbe believed what Daniel believed – God is able! Within a few years they had a two-room school in their backyard!
My friend John was successful in business more than once. In fact, three times he lost everything and had to start over from scratch. But John refused to give up. While he lost everything, he did not lose his faith. A sign in a churchyard expresses what John believes: “When you have nothing but God, you have everything.”
Many people have everything but God and they are miserable. What they fail to see is that what they cannot see is what really matters. Things have no eternal value. The Bible teaches us that what is visible has no lasting meaning; only that which is invisible lasts forever!
A man in Alabama became successful and earned a reputation as a generous philanthropist. He had homes in several states and traveled in his own private jet.
Then his world collapsed. He was fired as CEO of the very company he had built. His success was achieved, his accusers said, through fraud and deception. His “kingdom” of wealth and extravagance crumbled like a sand castle.
Daniel was not impressed with earthly kingdoms. They have no future. God, however, Daniel said, is building a kingdom “that shall never be destroyed.”
We may lose “the greatest job in the world.” We may lose our dream home. Our worldly treasures may vanish into thin air. But what we have invested in the Kingdom of God, we cannot lose. What we have given away, in the service of Jesus, will be ours forever.
When the world’s kingdoms are tottering and falling all around us, we can rejoice that we belong to an eternal Kingdom, a Kingdom that will remain when everything else has been destroyed.
Think about Daniel. We do not know if he wore expensive clothes, if he lived in a fine home or if he drove an expensive camel. We do not know if he was a member of a Country Club or if he could dine in “The Club” in his city.
It is what we do know about Daniel that matters. He believed that God was able to meet his needs and that God’s kingdom was eternal.
In hard times we need faith like Daniel’s faith. He did not allow calamity to rob him of his faith. He believed that God was able to meet whatever need he faced. By the grace of God we can believe that too and refuse to give up when times are hard. + + +