Dear Nigerians, it’s high time we increased our faith in God, By Rev. Edet E. Umo
We are facing perilous times as the Scripture is being fulfilled. If you are brave enough to read the newspaper, listen to and watch the news both on Radio and Television, then you will agree with me. Most of us can’t read the newspaper or listen to the news and have our meals at the same time because of gory and horrible news headlines we receive daily! Two of these must certainly be in the news: bomb explosions, riots, first class rape, high ranking embezzlement, murder of close relative and love ones, personal interest by our Representatives in the Legislative arm of government, insincerity of the government towards the governed, school and academic degradation, poor state of our social infrastructure, religious insensitivity and derailment from the original plan of God, family crises and the likes.
You surely will agree that we need help; help from somewhere; a place that is greater than ours and from somebody whose strength is more powerful than ours. It’s easy for our faith to diminish in these times of economic collapse, problems in our families, pay cuts and minimum wage crises, problems in our churches, families, shootings and bomb blast in our country, killing of soldiers by insurgents etc.
Now more than ever, we definitely need our faith to be strong. In our Congregation, we need to see faith at work whenever we come to church, during the preaching, prayers, and fellowshipping. We need to hear and feel our unwavering faith as the messages of hope in times of despair, of peace in times of trouble and of love in times of world dissention is being preached.
All in all, we need a faith lift. In fact, we cannot be pleasing to God unless we are demonstrating faith, according to the writer of Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]”.(Amplified Version)
Throughout the Scriptures, we have messages of hope that can take us “Beyond the Bitter to the Better”. Take for instance Psalms 30:1-5, “…I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me. O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me. O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (KJV).
We have been eating candy and we know the lesson in it, it is always a warhead, and for the first thirty seconds or thereabout it will be incredibly bitter, but then something always happened. The bitterness began to fade and the sweetness came through. The bitter became better.
We all think that we would like to be David when we read the first four verses. David says these things.
· You’ve lifted me up.
· You’ve healed me.
· You’ve kept me alive.
· He then encourages us to Sing unto the Lord.
But consider this.
· If you’ve been lifted up, it means you have to be down.
· If you’ve been healed, it means you have to be sick.
· To give praise of to be kept alive, your life must have been in danger.
· And THEN he says, you can sing unto the Lord.
Verse 5 then sums it up this way: “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (KJV).
To get to the joy, you’ve got to go through the weeping.
To get to the morning, you got to go through the night. William Scroggie Translation of the Holy Bible put it this way: “At nightfall Weeping comes as a guest to tarry; but in the morning Joy comes to stay”.
The mistake that many of us have made is to assume that weeping has come to stay, and joy is forever gone, but the Bible tells us just the opposite. The first thing I notice about these Scriptures is that it lets us know that there will be bitter times.
I don’t have the space in this column to do it, but I could take you through the Scriptures and show you time and again that God’s people are not excused from trouble. The question is not “are you going to have trouble”, but “how are you going to respond to it?”
How did David respond? Look at verse 1 of Psalms 30. “I WILL EXTOL THEE”. Look at how God described the making of the two cherubims on the mercy seat of God. Exodus 25:18 says, “And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat”.
Those were physical representations of Spiritual beings, but he wanted to make sure that we understand that they were BEATEN into the PROPER SHAPE. In 1 Peter 1:3-8, the Bible says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. ….That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory”.(KJV)
But all of that comes while you are in “heaviness through manifold temptations”. As 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 says, “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. And then the classic event is Job 1:21, “And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD”. (KJV)
I’ve said it before, God is not nearly so worried about the circumstance of our life as He is concerned with how we respond to them. Our proper response should ALWAYS be worship. Where are those that say, “His presence is more important than my problem”. When a problem comes into your life, there are two things going on. First, the devil tries to get us to look at our flesh and give up. Secondly, God tries to get us to look at Him and praise up.
Job 2:9-10 says, “Then said his wife unto him, dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips”.(KJV)
Remember these when always faced with perilous and difficult times that you are here:
1. By God’s appointment
2. In His keeping
3. Under His training
4. For His time
And your response in the midst of it is for you to go into worship.
Job 13:15 says, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him”.