Faith in the Midst of Uncertainty - Bob Sawvelle

Embracing Change

Transition. The very word can be daunting to many. Embracing change in a chaotic world is challenging at best. America is preparing for the inauguration of a new president. Many are hopeful—many are fearful. Transition is never easy. Someone once wisely said, “The only thing permanent in life is change itself.

Jesus, more so than anyone, demonstrated calm in the midst of uncertainty. Asleep in the back of a boat during a storm, his inner peace was louder than the wind and waves against them (Mark 4:35-41). It was a great windstorm—an extreme situation.

The disciples were fearful of capsizing and drowning—they knew the water as fishermen—people die in storms. Jesus quiets the storm with a simple command, “Silence, be still!” He asks them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mk 4:40 NLT) The next verse says “The disciples were absolutely terrified…” Knowledge apart from God’s perspective often leads to fear.

An under-developed faith fears uncertainty and transition. Change is inevitable. How you embrace change and transition is key to remaining in God’s peace during seasons of uncertainty.

Disciplined Thinking

Paul told Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7 NKJV). Paul is imprisoned and soon to die at the hands of Caesar Nero. During a time of intense persecution against the church, Paul writes Timothy, the overseer of the church in Ephesus to be strong and not to fear. A sound mind is a “disciplined mind,” a mind renewed to think like heaven and trust God completely. The reverential fear of God is legal—every other fear is counterfeit to faith.

To resist fear, a confident trust in God and His Word is essential. This develops through ongoing relationship with God. If you give into fear, you give the enemy permission to rob you of God’s peace freely given by Christ. Fear is misdirected faith—faith in natural circumstances and events more than in God and His Word.

True faith does not ignore or deny the obstacles or circumstances you face, but looks at them in light of God’s Word and His revealed nature and declares, “With God, all things are possible.” The Bible and church history are full of examples of impossible situations that the people of God faced; however, as they refused to give into fear and relied upon God and His strategy, they overcame.

Hidden in God

Think of King David a moment and all the battles he fought—God protected him every time. He declares in Psalm 27,

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock (Psalm 27:1,3,5 NKJV).

Unscathed, he lived to an old age. God was with him—always.

David, as a warrior king, learned first hand that in the midst of the most intense conflicts and circumstances of life, he could trust God completely and not be afraid. Picture yourself on the battlefield with David as war rages all around. Can you see David confidently moving forward in the midst of intense conflict, not given to fear, but rather exuding a confident trust that God would protect and shelter him?

How was David able to trust God?

Simply stated, David had developed an intimate relationship with God and had learned he could trust Him. By understanding God’s word, His character and observing His faithfulness in previous difficulties, David learned that he could safely trust in God’s ability to provide, protect, and deliver him in all of life’s situations. Before David ever faced Goliath, he faced a bear and a lion. After defeating Goliath, David then battled the Philistine army. Yesterday’s conflicts had prepared David for larger challenges and greater opportunities to advance the kingdom.

Courageous faith is refined and developed in the midst of adversity, and it prepares us for tomorrow’s victories. To overcome, you must learn to trust, and never give in to fear, even during the most intense battles or situations you may face in life.

Do Not Fear Little Flock

Jesus has calming words for us today, “Do not fear little flock; it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32 NKJV). As a good Father, God assures us that it is His honor to give freely and abundantly to us from the resources of His Kingdom. Therefore, do not fear!

To understand this passage, realize that in ancient times, when a good king brought people into his kingdom and under his care, he also took responsibility for their well-being. In fact, the prosperity of the people reflected the greatness of the king and his kingdom. Now, do you suppose that God, our King, wants our lives to reflect His glory and the glory of the kingdom of heaven? Absolutely! God wants to take care of us, and He has promised to do so faithfully.

God once again promises in Matthew 6:31-33 that as we seek Him first and walk faithfully with Him, we have no need to worry about even the necessities of life,

So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (NKJV)

Have you noticed that many in America are dominated with concerns about their financial future?

When you live in His peace and abide in His rest, you radiate the goodness of God to an uncertain world. You become a diffuser of hope to those who are outside of God’s family. If you have given into fear, repent, and ask God to forgive you for not trusting Him. Ask Him to give you His peace and to be able to trust Him more. Read the promises of God given in His word – believe them, pray them, and decree them over your life. This will build your faith and trust in God.

The Early Church Rises Above a Famine

At the end of Acts 11, a certain prophet from Jerusalem,

…named Agabus stood up in one of the meetings and predicted by the Spirit that a great famine was coming upon the entire Roman world. (This was fulfilled during the reign of Claudius.) So the believers in Antioch decided to send relief to the brothers and sisters in Judea, everyone giving as much as they could. This they did, entrusting their gifts to Barnabas and Saul to take to the elders of the church in Jerusalem” (Acts 11: 28-30 NKJV).

Notice that God revealed to the believers that a difficult economic period was coming. A time of uncertainty was coming. Notice how they responded.

First, they believed the prophetic voice. They did not deny what God had revealed. Then they responded in faith by taking up an offering for those in need in Judea. They took practical steps to help others as the Holy Spirit led. That is faith in the midst of uncertainty!

Times of uncertainty, including economic challenges, come in life. Like the disciples at Antioch, you must learn to respond in faith and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. He will give you strategies for God’s breakthrough. God is raising up a Joseph company of people who will have heaven’s strategies in this hour, who will not only help God’s people during crisis, but will position the sons of the Kingdom to receive the wealth of the unrighteous.

Look with Anticipation

Lastly, while for many this is a season of uncertainty, for the believer it should be a time to look with great anticipation for the outpouring of God’s Spirit over all the earth. The greatest harvest of souls the church has ever seen is unfolding, and our generation has the privilege to participate with God in this harvest. Darkness may intensify, but God’s glory and kingdom will increase greatly (Isa. 60:1-2).

Many of your family members, neighbors, co-workers, and classmates closed to the gospel will be drawn to you, as you let Christ shine through your life. Be ready to answer every person with the hope that is within you. Stay close to God, stayed filled with His presence, and allow your life to be a gate of praise. God will not only watch over and care for you and your family during this period of transition, but if you allow Him, He will use you to help many who are in need of hope. Jesus is enough and the church is His response to a confused and hurting world.

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Bob Sawvelle

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