|"God is not panicked over lost souls. He's not wavering back-and-forth over the second coming of Christ."|
WHEN DAVID SHOWED UP at the valley of Elah, Goliath had been raging for forty days. For forty days, Israel had heard his taunts and cowered on the mountain. Forty long days.
When Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal, the famine in Samaria had lasted three and a half years. And lest you think he was the only good man alive (after all, he prayed it wouldn’t rain, so what’s the worry) there were 7,000 others who had not bowed their knees to Baal. Three and a half years is a long time with no food on the table.
When Jesus was sent to the pool of Bethesda, the man with the infirmity had lain there 38 years. For 38 years, he’d wished to enter the water but couldn’t find a way. 38 years is a long time to hope and have nothing happen.
When the woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, she’d been seeking doctors for a cure for twelve years. For twelve years, she’d spent all her money and was no better but had grown worse.
When Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem, the Father had waited generations, thousands of years for this fulfillment. He planned redemption through His Son before the world began. He designed the human body with a heart that pumped blood so that His Son’s blood could be shed. He prophesied of Christ to Abraham, to Isaac and Jacob, to Moses, to the Israelites when He delivered them from Egypt. He spoke of it through prophets, through psalmists. And for 400 years, the Holy of Holies in the temple had been empty. Generations is a long time. Waiting thousands of years to rescue His creation from sin and death is a long, long time.
When Cain killed Abel, God didn’t panic. When the people united to build the tower of Babel, God didn’t panic. When the earth flooded and only Noah’s family survived in the ark, God didn’t panic. When Lot’s family had to leave Sodom and Gomorrah because of great sin in the city, God didn’t panic. When God called Gideon, the least of his tribe, to gather an army against the Midianites, God wasn’t in a panic. Nor when the Philistines took over and the only strong man God had was Samson, who was enamored of the wrong woman. God was not in a panic.
God didn’t panic over Egypt and the people’s bondage. He was not afraid of opening and closing the waters of the Red Sea. He was not worried about the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness, nor over how their children would conquer Canaan. He knew Babylon would show up, years later, and take the Israelites back into slavery. He knew exactly how He’d get them out. At no point in time, up to that moment when Jesus lay in the manger was God in fear or panic or worry.
He planned Jesus’ walk to the cross. He planned His death. He planned His Resurrection. He planned the enemy’s defeat. He planned Pentecost. He wasn’t worried about Peter back when he kept sticking his foot in his mouth. God knew that afternoon on the streets of Jerusalem, with lowly fishermen speaking in languages they did not learn, that Peter would stand up and give the speech of destiny. He knew 3,000 men and women would be saved.
He wasn’t worried about Saul persecuting Christians. He didn’t like it, but He had a plan. He knew what would happen on the road to Damascus. He knew Saul would become Paul and change the then known world. He wasn’t panicked over the future when John was on the isle of Patmos and had the vision of Revelation. And in the eons since, as history has unfolded, as tyrants have rose and fell, as cultures have formed, as nations have come into being, as the Jews were persecuted again and again, as lives in Africa, Europe, and Australia were killed for their Christian faith, God was never in a panic.
We look at the chaos around us and wonder where God is. We pray and ask Him to move to awaken people to the Truth of the gospel, half of us believing it won’t happen. We seek His face for a move of God’s presence in the church, in cities and states, and governments, but it looks like nothing’s going on. We chase after prophets and prophecies. Or we tear them down. We criticize media pundits, financial gurus, educational systems. In all of these, rather than trust God, rather than walk by faith in His goodness and timing, we lean instead on the eyes in our head and the reasonings of our mind.
But God is not in a panic over world systems. He’s not in a panic over presidents or dictatorships. He’s not overly concerned, our nice way of saying worried, because there are too many people at the nation’s border, nor because there are wars and rumors of wars, nor because of signs in the heaven above and in the earth beneath.
God is not panicked over lost souls. He’s not wavering back-and-forth over the second coming of Christ.
If there’s one position we need to stand in faith in our heavenly Father, it’s that the times and the seasons are His and He knows what He’s doing. He gets men’s frustrations. He understands pain and suffering. Jesus was tempted in all points like as we are. He suffered so that death would be defeated and sickness and poverty with it, and God could raise from the dunghill men and women fallen in their sins. He died and rose again to create John Wesleys, Martin Luthers, George Muellers, George Washingtons, Abraham Lincolns, and even General Pattons and Winston Churchhills. He armed His children with the Holy Spirit so that they could pray the will of God to God and see good happen. He made Himself all things to fill all things and complete all things.
Time is urgent. Jesus IS coming soon, and all those things in John’s vision will come to pass, most likely not exactly like people have predicted, but however they unfold and until those moments happen, until we all go up to meet the Lord in the air and be forever with the Lord, we are here on earth to GO YE INTO ALL THE WORLD AND PREACH THE GOSPEL so that God’s perfect timing, God’s specific design for the earth, for the world, and His individual plan for every man on it, will come to pass. We have a part to play absent of fear and panic and worry, or concern, if you want to call it that.
We must buckle down, pray more, stand taller, be stronger in the Lord’s might, hold up our shield of faith and speak words of faith. We must lay hands on the sick and see them recover. We must cast out demons to an even greater extent than Jesus did. We must BE THE CHURCH in the joy and freedom God provided, BECAUSE HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING, and bring eternity from heaven to earth.
That was, after all, the Savior’s instruction.
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:9-13)
Suzanne D. Williams, Author