The message was brought by Rev. Eddie Foster.
How rapidly things changed this week. It never crossed my mind that schools would be closed all across the United States. We trust it will be short lived. God will see us through. Christians are not exempt from things. It rains on the just as well as the unjust. We like to take only the good and complain about the bad, but we must go on.
Psalms 31:1, 14, 15 In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.
My times are in thy hand. All of life’s circumstances are under the control of God. I heard some say “if God is in control, why does ___ happen? Sin produces a lot of things. God has always been and always will be in control. Could God stop the coronavirus? Sure, he could. I don’t know what God is doing. But I know he’s still in control. Even when things don’t look good to us, he is still in control. No matter the circumstance, God has it under control.
Will you agree with me that worry is a sin? Do we worry? Yes. Why is it a sin? When we worry we are trusting God less. The more we trust him, the less we worry. I’m only human. All of us are. Remember the prophet Elijah. He had just killed 450 prophets of Baal and should have been high on the mountain. Jezebel threatened him and he ran and hid, afraid for his life. He was worried what would happen to him. He was just a man. I’m just a man. So, are you worried about the coronavirus or are you concerned? There is a difference.
King Saul surrounded the camp of David. These verses were written at that time. A message came to Saul that the Philistines were coming. He left off threatening David to go after them. God provided. He’s able to do all things. When the angel told Mary she would have a child, she asked how can these things be seeing she hadn’t known a man. The reply? With God nothing shall be impossible.
Our worrying times are in God’s hand. (a) We learn to worry by experience. Tell a child not to touch a hot stove and he will. Once. And when done, experience will tell him not to do that again. People who’ve survived tornadoes and hurricanes do get afraid when they hear that another is coming. Experience taught them to be. (b) We worry by knowledge gained. A child may see nothing wrong with playing in the street or touching fire or playing with a snake. I may have thought any of these would be okay as a child, but as I grew my knowledge increased and I knew not to do it. (c) We worry by displaying a lack of trust in God. In Matthew 6 we learn some things from the teaching of Jesus. We worry about the wrong things. Verse 25 says Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Food, water, clothes: don’t worry? Why not? We have to have them. Why should we not worry? Verse 26 gives the answer. Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? God cares about the birds, but man is his greatest creation. In worry, he will provide. Verses 28-30 say And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Worry is useless to begin with. Verse 27 says Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? If we’re 5’ 6” and want to be 6’ 2”, will worrying about it make us 6’ 2”? No. It doesn’t change a thing.
It will hurt us in the long run to keep worrying. It will damage our health. It affects productivity. It brings negativity and that makes us treat others wrongly because worry has infected the mind. We don’t trust God like we should. David said: But I trusted in thee, O Lord. We can put our trust in someone higher than those in D.C., higher than anyone in the world. He’s never failed. He’ll get us through. The anchor holds. God is still God and in control of the affairs of men.
Worry immobilizes. Concern moves you to action. Concerned about the virus? Yes. What do we do? We wash our hands. We don’t touch our face. If we sneeze, we then wash our hands. We wash after going to the bathroom. Aren’t these things what we should be doing anyway! We’re just all more conscious of it. We have to be sensible and let the concern move us to the right action.
Worry teaches us the ways of the Lord. We can surrender to God or to the circumstances. A long time ago animals were put in boxes and shocked. They couldn’t get out. Then they were put in boxes with chambers so they could move away from the shock chamber. When some where shocked, they moved to the other chamber. However, some didn’t. They just surrendered to the shock and were immobilized. The escape was there, but they didn’t take it. You can surrender or you can just get hard and cynical. Don’t get even. Leave that to the Lord. Accept it so you can profit from the experience.
If a man ever had reason to become bitter and cynical, Joseph did. But from the beginning he trusted God. He lost his mother at a young age. His brothers put him in a pit and sold him into slavery. He was falsely accused and put in prison. Would we get bitter or act like Joseph? I probably would have been bitter, but Joseph didn’t do that. At the end of Genesis we see Joseph as an elevated man in Egypt after interpreting the dream about the years of plenty and the famine. He stored grain for 7 years and then when the famine came he fed the world. His very own brothers came for food. Because of that, the entire family was saved and moved to Egypt. What did Joseph say to his brothers? Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. The next time something bad happens, look for the good. Everything that happens will not be good, but if we trust God he will bring good out of it. It’s not ours to know the why of things, but we can trust God.
Our dying times are in his hand. Psalms 23 says Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. We’re going to leave this world. We will die. When the Old Testament lists the men of old, at the end of each verse it says “and he died.” Do we fear death? I think we all have a fear of the unknown. But we don’t have to fear. One heartbeat after our last one here, we’ll be with the Lord. Paul said to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. We don’t have to fear dying because it is in God’s hand. He’ll get us through the wilderness of life into our promised land.
Stop worrying. Get on your knees. Worry won’t change it anyway. Trust God. Trust God.