In times of trouble by Deon Crafford
Philippians 1:9-11 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Our country finds itself in an avalanche of anarchy and disorder. Every day we’re confronted by images and videos of mayhem and destruction, and wave after wave of looting masses laying their hands on whatever they can. We are a people in shock for what our country has become. As believers we stand before God with perplexed faces. Whereto from here? How can we ever return to normality and order after this? Where are you God in all of this? So many times people have asked this question in times of disaster. Why does God allow this to happen? Sometimes even suggesting that God has these play-buttons that He activates to teach people lessons. It is not true. What we see around us is the result of the evil that men and women do. What we’re experiencing are the fingerprints of corrupt systems of government and social abuse. All we are confronted with are ourselves and that alone puts our relationship with God in perspective. If we did not have Him, imagine the despair we’d be entangled in. If we knew not that ultimately nothing surprises Him and nothing ever supercedes His will and power, we’d be right to collapse in a pathetic bundle of breathing flesh.
Paul writes – from his prison cell – to the Philippian church at a time when they’re downtrodden by persecution, lies and disinformation and internal strife. But he does not focus on the unpacking of the troubles. Paul begins his letter to them with reinforcing those qualities that set the believers in Philippi apart from their circumstances. Its almost as though he purposefully ignores their troubles to refocus them on the excellence of their faith and the real joy that flows from that. Troubles are man-made and therefor as fickle as their origins. The excellence of faith is by God’s design and able to withstand all evil intent and malice, ultimately trumping all that dark principalities and powers can offer. The excellence of our faith is the Spiritual oxygen we need for Life.
In these days we will constantly be confronted with anxiety, bitterness, judgement, even hatred. That is what the evil dominions would hope to achieve – to make believers abandon the excellence of their faith, to make us all lose heart and trust in the God of mercy and grace. Like the Philippian church, we are – despite the most dire of circumstances – called to grow exponentially in our love, apply the sharpest of discernment in separating truth from a deluge of false and pursuing the highest level of trust in the sovereignty of God the Father. May circumstances never shackle us, but true faith keep us free.
Love to all