My assurance is in my God’s Promise
Rev. Fr. Alexander J. Kurien
There is hardly anyone who has not at some time been pushed to the rugged edges of life. There have been times that all of us felt that a cloud of despair had come to blot out the joyous glitter of a distant star of hope. So often we have been left standing amid the surging murmur of life’s restless sea. We have been frustrated and disillusioned, bewildered and on the brink of despair. There have been times that we felt like giving up. We felt that we couldn’t make it any longer. This has been an experience characterizing the lives of men and women in all generations–religious men, unbelieving men. For instance, we turn back to the pages of the Old Testament and we hear an earnest believer like Isaiah in the midst of the Babylonian exile crying, “Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel” Isaiah 45:15.
We can run the long gamut of biography and come up to modern life. And we can hear an earnest believer like Carlyle saying, “It seems that God sits in his heaven and does nothing” (Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus, p. 163). We can turn to a noble writer and literary genius like Shakespeare and hear him crying out through the lips of Macbeth “Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (Shakespeare, Macbeth, act 5, sc. 5).
Many of us don’t understand why things happen in our lives. Some of us in the past have had some very negative things and extremely hurtful things happen to us, leaving us wondering why would a God who is so just, loving, and kind allow such a thing to happen to me. But I want you to understand that God has a divine plan. Our God has a master plan for each of us, but it’s up to us to surrender to His will. We must be like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane when He declared, “Nevertheless not my will but thine be done”.
Martin Luther King, Jr. declares, “You can stand up amid despair. You can stand up amid persecution. You can stand up amid disappointment. You can stand up even amid death. But you don’t worry because you know God is with you. You have made the transition. You have faced life’s central test.”1 Vowing to replicate Jesus’ obedience to God’s will, King cries, “Wherever He leads me, I will follow. I will follow Him to the garden. I will follow Him to the cross if He wants me to go there.”
The Bible says that He knows the number of hairs on our head. He knows us better than we know ourselves. God knows what it will take to move, stimulate, activate, or motivate each of us. Ultimately He knows what it will take to get us into the place that He would have us. Therefore, God allows those unpleasant things (trials, storms) to come in our lives because He is just trying to perfect and direct us. 1Peter 5: 10 says “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” Sometimes God allows suffering, trouble, and trials for the perfecting of the saints. I want you to know that you can have an assurance in God, because, God promised never to leave you nor forsake you. In Psalm 37: 25-26 David said, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.” Everything we experience in this life, all the struggles, pain, frustration, heartaches, disappointments, and suffering that all things work together for the good.
“Work Together” means that all things are continually working together for good. I want you to know that God is arranging and rearranging all things in your life. The word good comes from the Greek word ἀγαθὸν (Agathon), which means ultimate good. You see, we don’t know our future; we don’t know how the events that happen in our lives will affect us later. But God knows our beginning as well as our ending. Your end was already set before you began. Therefore, God takes all of the events of our lives and works them out for our ultimate good; God is working it out.
Let us look at the life of Joseph in the Old Testament, of how God was using all the events of his life to get him where He wanted him to be. Joseph went from the pit to the palace and in Genesis 50: 19 Joseph asked the question “am I in the place of God?” Sometimes you may have to go through, getting to the place where God ultimately wants you. I want you to understand that you have to go through to get through. “All things work together for the good of them that love the lord and are called according to his purpose.” God has a condition and God is not bound to His promise if we are not faithful to the conditions. If you want God to work it out for you, you must love the Lord and work for Him.
My assurance is built upon God’s assurance to me. God says, “I will never leave you,” so that then I “may boldly say, ’The Lord is my helper; I will not fear’ ” (Hebrews 13:5-6). The faith of many people begins to falter when apprehensions enter our thinking, and we forget the meaning of God’s assurance— we forget to take a deep spiritual breath. The only way to remove the fear from our lives is to listen to God’s assurance to us.
What do you fear? Whatever it may be, you are not a coward about it— you are determined to face it, yet you still have a feeling of fear. When it seems that there is nothing and no one to help you, say to yourself, “But ’The Lord is my helper’ this very moment, even in my present circumstance.” Are you learning to listen to God before you speak, or are you saying things and then trying to make God’s Word fit what you have said? Take hold of the Father’s assurance, and then say with strong courage, “I will not fear.” It does not matter what evil or wrong may be in our way, because “He Himself has said, ’I will never leave you . . ..’ ”
Human frailty is another thing that gets between God’s words of assurance and our own words and thoughts. When we realize how feeble we are in facing difficulties, the difficulties become like giants, we become like grasshoppers, and God seems to be nonexistent. But remember God’s assurance to us— “I will never . . . forsake you.” Are we continually filled with enough courage to say, “The Lord is my helper,” or are we yielding to fear?
When I look back over my life and think about all the events in my life up unto the present time, the good as well as the bad, the bitter, and the sweet. I can see how God was working it out and how sometimes “rejection is Gods protection.” God knows what is best for us and He’s working it out for our good. Let us continue to trust in His promise to us. We must educate the soul to trust in God’s word with unwavering confidence. Let gratitude and thankfulness flow out of the heart, and cease to hurt the heart of Christ by doubting His love, which has been assured to us by most astounding evidences; for He so loved us as to give His own life for us, that we should not perish, but have everlasting life. Just always remember – God Loves You more than you can ever imagine.