In Times Like These

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Ruth Caye Jones (1902-1972) was the wife of a pastor in Erie, Pennsylvania, and mother of five. In 1943, rationing, because of the war was hitting hard. Families across America were sacrificing for the war effort—some paying the ultimate price. A list of casualties from the conflict was published daily in the newspaper. Discouragement was everywhere.

One morning Ruth read 2 Timothy 3:1, “In the last days, perilous times shall come.” It seemed to her perilous times had already come. As she thought about that verse, words and a melody came to her that seemed to fit together. She quickly took a notepad and wrote the words that became a song that has blessed the hearts of millions of people the world over.

In times like these you need a Savior.

In times like these you need an anchor.

Be very sure, be very sure,

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

This Rock is Jesus, Yes He’s the One.

This Rock is Jesus, the only One.

Be very sure, be very sure,

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

This song became one of the favorites of George Beverly Shea who sang it for Billy Graham in crusades around the world. The lyrics speak to the deepest needs of human hearts. It brings comfort during illness, tribulations and great loss. It reminds us when times are tough—we have a Savior, an anchor, a Solid Rock—in Jesus—and we need to trust Him. Although people need a Savior whether they are under threat or not, He is truly our anchor during the storms of life.

Today, we are living “in times like these”—with the Coronavirus a worldwide pandemic—bringing normal life to a grinding halt. Everywhere people are isolating themselves, meetings are cancelled, factories are closed, and church gatherings are suspended

Though the panic that grips the world now is unusual, it is not unique. The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 took the lives of 54 million people worldwide, among them, 675,000 Americans. In one year, it shortened the life expectancy of Americans by 12 years. During those days the government mandated the closing of schools, public gatherings and churches all across North America. Many died of the Spanish Flu right here in Drew County, including the great-grandparents of our UAM MBSF Director, Robert Leonard.

So, what can we do in times like these? Fortunately, God’s Word provides an answer.

The prophet Isaiah wrote about 750 years before Christ was born. He was a true prophet of God, with a backbone of steel, skin of asbestos, and a heart of compassion. A former professor at Dallas Theological Seminary used to say, “The work of the prophet was to comfort the afflicted, and to afflict the comfortable” (Howard G. Hendricks). Isaiah was just such a man of God.

In the midst of his writing, Isaiah penned a great promise from God for troubling times—Isaiah 26:3-4: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.”

These inspired words from God give great hope for today. Note:

  1. The Refuge God Offers —“Thou wilt Keep Him in Perfect Peace….”

God’s promise begins with “Thou” – referring to God Himself. He is the One, sometimes the only one, who can bring peace to troubled hearts. In the midst of trials, problems, issues and dangers, God claims He can “keep” people in “perfect peace.”

This peace God offers forms a refuge from harmful things. It is a shelter that protects from threatening thoughts. What God promises is literally, “Shalom, Shalom” – “Peace, Peace.” God can guard your soul and mind with a peace beyond human comprehension. God’s peace is described in Philippians 4:7, as “the peace of God, which passes all comprehension,” and it “will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

  1. The Response God Requires—“Whose Mind is Stayed on Thee because he trusteth in Thee….”

God promises to guard, protect and keep with an amazing supernatural peace, those “whose mind is stayed on thee.” The New Living Translation puts it, “whose thoughts are fixed on You.”

In order to enjoy God’s peace, you must fix your thoughts on Him, and trust Him completely. “Stayed” is a word that means to lean upon, or to be sustained by something. As a crippled man leans on his crutches, or an injured woman is carried on a stretcher—so must we fix our thoughts, and place our trust on God. He always has our best interests at heart.

  1. The Results God Promises—“Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is Everlasting Strength.”

So, if we accept that He is our refuge, and respond by trusting Him in our circumstances, the results will be that He, the Lord God, will be our strength. Threatening circumstances, extreme difficulties, and physical anxiety, will pale when compared to the Lord, who has everlasting strength! Nothing on earth or in heaven is stronger than He.

May we say with David: “The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble; And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You” (Psalm 9:9-10).

Our hope is in Him! Our faith and trust should be in HIM! He, and He alone, is our strength, because “in the LORD Jehovah is everlasting strength!” In Jesus, we have an ANCHOR that will HOLD…but WE Must TRUST in Him!

 

 

Author: Larry E. Clements

Follower of Christ, fortunate to be husband to Pat, father of 5, grandfather of 12, writer, associate pastor of Pauline Baptist Church

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