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HEART Christian newspaper | May 27, 2020

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Finding peace in troubled times

Finding peace in troubled times

Last updated on April 2nd, 2020 at 01:59 pm

You can win over worry

Worried about coronavirus?

Yes, there’s an underlying issue that needs to be taken seriously, but the continual alarmist media hype makes it all too easy to over-react and be glued to the news.

Panic buying, for example, does not help, causing some to have stockpiles for long periods, while others struggle to find the most basic items.

Even without a global pandemic, circumstances in life can change suddenly, bringing uncertainty, worries, and fears for the future. Threats to health and financial worries can undermine life’s normal securities. Such fears can even become debilitating, when our minds are continually bombarded with alarming thoughts of what could go wrong.

So where is the ray of hope?

Peace amid panic

The Bible says: “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (ie a disciplined mind, not a confused one! 2 Timothy 1:7).

In the midst of adversity and panic, we can have peace – real peace, with a presence of mind and a quiet confidence to face the future despite its uncertainties. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you,” said the prophet Isaiah.

God is ultimately in control. Believers who actively put their trust in almighty God will have peace in their hearts, because Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

How do I get this?

That’s all very well for those who have faith, some might say, but how can others get this? By coming to Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that God so loved the world (that means you too!), that he gave his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Saviour.

Jesus died on a cross, taking the penalty for our sins upon himself, so that we might be forgiven and come into a relationship with the living God.

One of the consequences of this is to receive a peace that the world does not know, a calm in the midst of the storms of life. This comforting truth is recorded in the words of a great hymn:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, 

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,

“It is well, it is well with my soul.”

That hymn was written by a man who had just lost his wife and children at sea…

Although God cannot be seen, the effects of his presence can be known – just as the wind is not seen, but its effects experienced as the leaves rustle in the trees, clouds scurry across the sky and a fresh breeze invigorates a sleepy soul. The wind of God’s Spirit is able to blow into our souls, banishing fear, bringing hope and stirring faith, building conviction within our hearts of God’s presence, working circumstances out for good.

Heroes in the Bible have seen this, such as the apostle Paul who faced many dangers – but God, he said, delivered him out of them all (2 Timothy 3:11). Likewise, Christians throughout Church history have known it too; the author John Bunyan, although imprisoned for his faith, came out of Bedford jail with his stirring book, ‘Pilgrim’s Progress,’ inspiring countless Christians to a closer walk with Christ. In my own life, I too have seen God work in the midst of numerous difficulties, learning through it all that God is faithful, strengthening us believers to overcome the challenges we face.

A prayer you can pray

If you have not yet known these blessings in your own life, there is a way to experience them:

  • Come to Jesus Christ, who is the way to God. 
  • Admit to God that you are a sinner who needs forgiveness (the Bible says we have all sinned – Romans 3:23).
  • Thank God that Jesus died on the cross for you.
  • Ask Jesus into your life to be your personal Lord (boss) and Saviour (rescuer from sin).

You can do this in a simple prayer, even where you are right now. Pray something like:

 

“Almighty God, it is true that I am a sinner, 

and have broken your laws.

Please forgive me.

Thank you that Jesus died on the cross for me.

I ask him into my life, to be my Lord and Saviour.

Help me to live a life that pleases you. Amen.”

If that is your sincere desire before God, he will accept you. To help you grow in your faith, spend some time talking to God (praying) each day; read the Bible, and find a church where the Bible is taught. You will begin to see God at work in your life, and experience his peace.

Mark Weeden

Rev Mark Weeden pastors King’s Church in Arundel, West Sussex

 

A prayer of protection

Christians all over the world are using this psalm as a prayer of protection. You may like to read it aloud and make it personal for yourself and those you care about.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High

Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;

My God, in him I will trust.”

Surely he shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler

And from the perilous pestilence.

He shall cover you with his feathers,

And under his wings you shall take refuge;

His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,

Nor of the arrow that flies by day,

Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,

Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,

And ten thousand at your right hand;

But it shall not come near you.

Only with your eyes shall you look,

And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,

Even the Most High, your dwelling place,

No evil shall befall you,

Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;

For he shall give his angels charge over you,

To keep you in all your ways.

In their hands they shall bear you up,

Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,

The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

“Because he has set his love upon me, therefore I will deliver him;

I will set him on high, because he has known my name.

He shall call upon me, and I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble;

I will deliver him and honour him.

With long life I will satisfy him,

And show him my salvation.”

(Psalm 91)

 

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