So, while there are many things that we can or should no longer take for granted, we know that we can rely one hundred percent on the Lord and on the truth and total reliability of His Word.
Life has changed so much for us all because of the pandemic and It’s amazing how we manage to adapt and cope. I’ve been thinking about the many things in life that I’ve always just taken for granted until this last year or so. Just the ordinary and simple things like going freely into each other’s homes, giving someone a hug, chatting to a neighbour without standing 2 metres apart, going into a shop without wearing a face mask and so on. I’ve also realised how I’ve automatically depended on the good aspects of life in the UK.
The NHS has been there all my life and whenever I’ve needed a doctor or medication it’s been available. So, when I got toothache, around the time of the first lockdown last year, it was a bit of a blow to realise that I couldn’t see my dentist. I had to make do with a phone call and being advised to take paracetamol. Praise the Lord for paracetamol (Thanks go to Israel for that), but it’s another thing I’ve just taken for granted. Now I wonder, will it always be so readily available?
And there’s something else I’ve tended to take for granted about life here. When it comes to Christians being seriously persecuted it has usually been in far distant places like China or North Korea. But I don’t think it’s wise to take anything for granted about that anymore. You may or may not know that just a few days ago a 71-year-old church pastor was arrested, taken to the police station and detained overnight after, in his open-air sermon, quoting from the book of Genesis about what God has to say about marriage. When I was a teenager back in the sixties I remember taking part in open air gospel services on Margate seafront. That was in the days when there were masses of holiday makers there. We had to risk being heckled, but it would never have crossed our minds to think that we could be arrested for talking about what the Bible teaches or quoting from it.
The writer of Hebrews tells us about the things God will shake (Hebrews 12 v 26). Part of that verse is a quotation from Haggai, who says:- “This is what the Lord Almighty says:- “In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,” says the Lord Almighty.” (Haggai 2 v 6-7). We long for the day when Jesus returns, but we know that the shakings come first, along with all that we read in Revelation about the end times. So, all the shakings of this last year help to make us all the more aware that we need to be prepared for more to come.
I was sorting through some files full of old paperwork recently and I came across some notes that I wrote when listening to Lance Lambert speaking. We were privileged to be in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles in 2008. Lance was speaking back then about the increasing chaos in the world. He talked about the climate changing and about financial and economic chaos. He said that it was not the devil, but God behind it. He described it as the beginning of a meltdown and said there can be no turning back. He said that the Lord will shake everything that can be shaken in the end times “so that what cannot be shaken may remain.” (Hebrews 12 v 27). He said that the Lord’s purpose was to bring the antichrist out of this turmoil and thus hasten the coming of the Messiah. He reminded us that the place where our treasure needs to be is in the Lord Jesus, unfading and eternal, and of our calling to be witnesses in a world that is hastening to destruction. Lance lived to a good age, but went home to the Lord several years ago, so he didn’t live to experience the pandemic, but what he said seems very relevant now.
Coming back to the theme of taking things for granted, I realise that another thing that I’ve always taken for granted is the availability of God’s Word. We have at least a dozen Bibles in our house in a variety of translations, along with lots of good and edifying Christian books. But the day may come when Bibles are confiscated, so let’s keep making the most of having them so freely now. Psalm 119 talks about hiding God’s Word in our hearts (Psalm 119 v 11), and the better we know the Word, the better equipped we will be, “having done all, to stand.”(Ephesians 6 v 13).
So I’ll finish with a couple of Scriptures that are good to meditate on in view of the shakings that we may yet have to face. Psalm 46 is probably well known to us all, but it is well worth holding on to in these days. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. - - - - Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46 v1-5, v10.) It’s a good Psalm to learn by heart.
Psalm 18 is a bit long to learn by heart, but the first few verses are a tremendous reassurance of where our security lies. “I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18 v 1-2).
And lastly, one of my favourite verses:-“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”(Proverbs 18 v 10).
So, while there are many things that we can or should no longer take for granted, we know that we can rely one hundred percent on the Lord and on the truth and total reliability of His Word. Since His Word tells us that He is the one who is doing the shaking, we can rest assured that He is in control. Whatever else shakes He remains unshaken and unshakeable! As we’ve heard many times of late, we just need to keep abiding in Him. When many things are being shaken it may feel as if we are in an earthquake zone, but the Lord remains THE SOLID ROCK beneath our feet. Hallelujah!
Author: Hilly Burridge
May God bless and enrich your life
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