For I know the thoughts that I think toward you says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
dr doug mamvura
The Lord’s plans for us are nothing, but good. The evil we experience doesn’t come from the Lord. Our God is a good God. The prophecy from Jeremiah above came to the children of Israel in the darkest hour of their captivity and yet God promised them an expectant end. God is not intimidated by the circumstances that we face on a daily basis.
We serve an Almighty God who is able to deliver us from the fowler’s snare.
It is important to remind and encourage each other especially during these days when we have a pandemic that is causing havoc in people’s lives. Most of us have lost close relatives and friends.
Consequently, the vast majority of people including us believers are in a panic mode. It is not easy to navigate life through this rough, turbulent and chaotic terrain when we continue to witness loss of precious lives. However, be that as it may our trust and hope is in the Lord. He will never leave us nor forsake us.
We have to believe in His promises. He promised that He would never leave nor forsake us.
The Psalmist says “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord and be of good courage, He shall strengthen your heart. Wait I say on the Lord” (Psalm 27: 13-14).
The only way to victory is through belief. We have to believe on the infallibility of God’s Word regardless of the situation we are facing. The Bible says nothing is impossible to him who believes. This is the time for you and I to walk by faith not by sight. We have to suspend our five senses: what we can see, smell, touch, feel or hear. We have to continue to believe that when we “dwell in the shelter of the Most High, we will abide under the shadow of the Almighty. That He will cover us with His fathers and under His wings we will have refuge, that we 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” (Psalm 91: 1-6).
We see in the above Psalm God’s promise of favour and protection. However, this protection comes to those of us who abide or dwell in the secret of place of the Most High. It is one thing to be born again and then fail to abide in the secret place. This speaks of permanence. As long as we abide under the wings of the Almighty we are safe just like the chicks that remain under the wings of their mother. However, if we walk away from this secret place, we are bound to face danger on our own and we become vulnerable.
We see supernatural protection from trouble that some believers don’t believe is possible in this Psalm. If we don’t believe it enough to say it, then it will not happen. This scripture makes it clear that there will definitely be arrows, however we don’t have to be afraid of them regardless of their nature.
One of the main challenges we face when we are confronted with all these problems caused by the pandemic is fear. Fear paralyses us. It is very difficult to operate victoriously under a spirit of fear. I don’t know how many times we have the expression “Fear not” in the Bible. In Isaiah 43:1-3, God says: “Fear not for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name, You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God.”
Notice that the Lord didn’t promise them they would not pass through the waters, rivers, and flame. He promised them safety in the midst of these things. God’s people do still suffer because we live in a fallen world. But the Lord has promised to sustain us through all these things. The current economic climate has made most of us walk through fire and flooded rivers metaphorically but God promised that we will not be burned nor will the waters overflow us. We just have to believe God’s Word.
I am reminded of one of Jesus’ disciples called Peter when he walked on water in Matthew 14:23-30).
“Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying “Be of good cheer! It is I do not be afraid”. And Peter answered Him and said, Lord if it is You, command me to come to You on the water”.
So, He said, “Come” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid and beginning to sink he cried out saying, Lord save me”.
The disciples desperately needed Jesus to come and help them. It is probable that they had prayed for that very thing. Yet, when Jesus appeared, they were troubled and thought He was a spirit. This revealed their unbelief, a challenge most of us still have.
People in unbelief will continue in unbelief, even in the face of a miracle. A miracle by itself won’t change them. It takes faith to perceive a miracle. The disciples were meeting and praying for Peter’s release from prison, but when it took place, they just couldn’t believe it (Acts 12: 5-17). Many people saw Lazarus raised from the dead (John 11:45) after four days, yet they still didn’t perceive the power of God in it. They took counsel with the Pharisees about how they could kill Jesus and Lazarus (John 11:53). People aren’t skeptics because of a lack of miracles. There is a lack of miracles because people are skeptics.
Jesus told His disciples to be of good cheer before He stilled the storm. Why didn’t He just still the storm? Then, they would have been of good cheer. It takes faith on our part to have God still the storms in our lives. There are a number of instances where the Lord told people to do things that took faith before He performed miracles. In Luke 7:13, Jesus told the widow at the city of Nain to stop crying. Why didn’t He just raise her son from the dead? Wouldn’t that have stopped her crying? He needed her act of faith.
Similarly, it takes faith for you and I to have God intervene in our lives.
One word from God, “Come,” was enough to enable Peter to walk on water. He believed in what Jesus had said: “Come.” We are only one word from God away from a miracle, if we will believe it. Peter did walk on the water. The fact that he began to sink doesn’t undo the fact that he was the only other person besides Jesus to do so. He walked on the very thing that was drowning them.
You and I can walk on the very storms that are confronting us in life, if we only can believe.
- Dr Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: email@example.com or Twitter @dougmamvura