“…But in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God…And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” Phil. 4:6-7, 19
What an awesome promise this is from God for those who trust in Him! If you’ve been alive for the last 3 1/2 years you know that the world has experienced the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Millions of people across the world lost their investments and savings, corporations and small businesses alike folded, and the value of our currency plummeted. For many, it seemed the collapse of the world economy was right around the corner. Despair was the pervasive attitude, especially in the United States, the most preeminent and wealthiest country on the map. In this country, we get so bent out of shape over financial matters such as not being able to afford the remodeling of our kitchen, purchasing the newest HD LCD 3D, anything with a D, television, sending our kids to college, that we often forget to consider how well-off we really are and how much we have been blessed. Not only are we blessed with great wealth in this country, we are also blessed to live in the most prominent and powerful nation in the world. If you want proof of this, check this out. If you’ve ever travelled out of the country, say to France, for vacation and you wanted to call your friends or family members back home in Maryland you would have had to dial a country extension code before you dial the number. The country code for the United States is “+1”. We are #1, the first, the most powerful, the most preeminent and important. We say “God bless the USA!” like He hasn’t done that every day in lavish excess for the last 400 years! We are extremely blessed by God to live in a country that has experienced the blessings of God for so long, not just in financial matters, but also in political and civil freedoms.
However, we take these blessings for granted every single day. We find ourselves every day presuming on God’s grace to continue to bless us just because we woke up that day and are hard working 9-5. Job was a man who we could learn a lesson from if we take our blessing for granted. Job had an abundance of possessions in every sense of the word. He was truly blessed by God with riches, possessions, family, friends, etc…until Satan asked for God’s permission to tempt Job to sin against God by taking away his blessings. Satan’s premise was that Job would curse God if he lost the things he loved so God gave Satan the permission to take away but not to touch a hair on Job’s head. I assume that many of us under these same circumstances would indeed begin to question and grumble against God and even worse, curse Him when our sons were killed, our house destroyed, and all of our assets lost. I know I would certainly be angry, confused, doubtful of God, and feeling faithless. But Job, like Paul, “suffered the loss of all things” but his faith in God never wavered and welcomed the sufferings of Satan because he knew that though Satan had malicious intentions, God’s intentions were glorious because Job’s faith was strengthened and purified when it went through the furnace of affliction.
Job’s trust and faith in God’s glorious purposes caused him to never doubt the love and care of God in his life. So also we should trust and believe when we come upon troubles in our own lives. As mentioned before the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:8, “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, the I may gain Christ.” Also, Romans 5:4 tells us about suffering, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Hope is the foundation of faith, and faith is rooted in trust. So we can conclude that to have hope is to trust as well.
In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul tells us that we should be anxious in nothing. If trust in God is what Paul is calling us to in this passage, then the opposite of that trust is anxiety. Anxiety is stress that is brought about by certain fears in our life, usually relating to loss. You can be anxious over the fear of loosing your job, your spouse, your money, your possessions, anything that you claim to own you can be anxious about loosing it. Not to mention the fact that all things in the world belong to God and they are gifts to us to be stewarded wisely; we “own” many possessions. Paul is calling us to live a life without fear. In a world filled with sin and uncertainty there is A LOT to fear! The only thing we are called to fear in this world is God. Jesus says we should fear the One who is able to save and also to destroy.
But for those of us who have faith and hope in Christ we have the “shalom” of God bestowed upon our lives. Shalom is the world that is translated into “peace” in verse 7 and it has a very strong meaning of total and complete peace with God, the likes of the peace that exists between the members of the Trinity. Total, complete, and unending peace that is perfect and eternal. This peace results in love and we certainly trust those who we love. So this God whom we have access to in Christ Jesus is most worthy of our complete trust! That means that when sufferings, trials, financial crisis, and pain comes our way we can trust in the God who loves us and the God whom we also love to not only carry us through whatever we may experience, but to make us the better for it as well. Now we may not ever experience full restoration of material wealth and possessions but we will certain experience a restoration of faith, love, and grace in our lives as a result of being momentarily afflicted. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has promised to guide us through the fires of life and to bring us out more deeply in love with Him and ever more amazed at His grace! So with confidence we can draw near to God in our moment of distress and cast all our cares upon Him because He cares for us! Also remembering the faithfulness of God in the past and recounting His goodness and grace. The remedy for anxiety and fear in this life is trust in Jesus Christ and rejoicing in thanksgiving. And when we rejoice in goodness and mercy of God we will with unending love sing the words immortalized in this hymn by Robert Robinson:
Come Thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise!
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the Name I’m fixed upon it
Name of Thy redeeming love!
Hitherto Thy love has blessed
Thou hast brought me to this place
And I know Thy hand will bring me
Safely home by Thy good grace
Jesus when me when a stranger
Wandr’ing from the fold of God
He to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood!