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Perilous Times

Perilous Times

    There is no doubt that the title of this week’s article draws everyone’s mind to the distress we are experiencing in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic.   This is definitely a true reason to be concerned, and could be cause for alarm.  None would argue that these are indeed dangerous times, and that certain activities which require close proximity to others could be hazardous. 

     As our national, state and local governments sets guidelines and restrictions and as we dutifully follow these, we do so for our own good, the good of our loved ones and for the good of our fellow Americans.     Many have called the restrictions as well as the virus itself and the ravages of it, persecution.  What is now occurring is more correctly termed tribulation, as the definition of tribulation is: a cause of great trouble or suffering. 

     As many are truly suffering, we are indeed involved in perilous times.  All the “tribulation” being experienced is causing a number of different reactions. Most of the people looking for relief or comfort are focused on the physical aspect of things.   Many are fearful that “life as they know it” is forever changed.   But, if our perspective is from a Scriptural standpoint, we will look for comfort from above.  From 2Corinthians 1:3-4 we are directed to look to God in perilous times so that we might have comfort, and so we can help ease the distress of others.  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  

     Another thing that should help us is that tribulation can actually be beneficial to us.  Roman 5:3-4 provides us with this information.  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope:  Those who have hope in Christ should always use tribulation to grow and serve God; not being fearful. 

     If you’ve ever been on a ship on a storm-tossed sea, you would certainly call that time perilous, or a “cause of great trouble”.   This is what occurred in the lives of the twelve that were called by the Lord in Matthew 8:23-26.  Notice the question the Lord asked them when they feared in time of tribulation.  And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. 24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. 25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.  26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.    These disciples, although in the very physical presence of Jesus, were afraid, and the passage above showed the source of their fear.   But, 2Timothy 1:7 is where we read what the Spirit had Paul write to this young preacher in the face of the tribulations he suffered for the cause of Christ. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.   

     Do we need to be reminded of the source of our faith?  We have access to that which can help us bolster our faith, even in the most perilous times.  Paul was directed by the Spirit, in Romans 10:17, to reveal this to them.  This is the message that has been forever recorded in God’s Word so all may have this information.  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.   As we are armed with this fact, are we to allow fear to rule our lives?  Are we to fear what “may” happen to us, even in perilous times or periods of tribulation?    Now, more than ever is a time to remain in the Word of God and have faith.   The apostle Paul was directed to write in Romans 8:35, words to those brethren which are also applicable to those in Christ, even today.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?Then, in verses 38-39 of the same book and chapter, we can read that nothing can separate us from the love of God.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

     But, those in Christ perhaps need to recall that while nothing external will be allowed to isolate us from God, being creatures of free will, have a choice in the matter.   I am afraid that some are allowing fear to separate them from the Lord in these “perilous times”.    Remember what the Spirit had the penman of the Hebrews letter write in the latter part of Hebrews 13:5 to those Christians who were facing tribulation?   . . . for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.      There is also a suitable scripture for those who allow fear to dominate, even in the face of tribulation or peril.  The Spirit had John pen the Words we read in Revelation 21:8.  It is here that those who are “fearful” are included among the vilest of offenders and even the end result of their lack of faith is pointed out.  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. 

      Perilous times?  Absolutely!   What better time to turn to God, do His Will and faithfully serve Him?      

                                  Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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