Wait Patiently for The Lord

Psalms 37:12-15 ESV

“The wicked plots against the righteous
and gnashes his teeth at him,
but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he sees that his day is coming.

“The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose way is upright;
their sword shall enter their own heart,
and their bows shall be broken.”

Our Primary Enemy

Who is our primary and worst enemy? Satan. He is the one who plots our downfall, who wants us to fail, who wants us to give up and to run away and to fade into the sunset so that we are no longer living for the Lord and/or impacting other people’s lives with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, he will attack us in any which way in which he can to try to take us out.

But he can do nothing unless God allows it, so that is the first thing we need to understand and to accept. Our God is absolutely and completely sovereign over all his creation and Satan cannot touch us unless God permits him to do so (see book of Job). But when the Lord permits us to suffer in different ways we must know that this is for our good, for our spiritual growth and maturity.

Now, some of these attacks may be minor compared to what other people are suffering, or they may be major, but an attack is still an attack, and even the seemingly minor ones can impact us just as much as some of the major ones. And even if the attack is just physical it can affect us emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, too, if we do not guard against it.

For the past year I have been suffering physically, but that physical suffering impacts all of me, if I let it, and so I have to keep trusting the Lord, and keep pressing ahead even on days when I feel I have nothing in me to give out at all. For a year ago I was infected by mice in our apartment and that was a lot like having mononucleosis, and the major symptoms lasted about 3 months. But fatigue and loss of balance and nerve damage remained.

I tried water aerobics and physical therapy to try to improve physical strength and balance, but much of what happened there just set me back, so it was like taking a few steps forward but then more steps backwards, and so I have been trying to rebuild to get to where I was before, but the fatigue and exhaustion lately have been taking me out a lot. But God is good! And he is allowing this trial in my life for his purposes, and so I trust him to work all things out for good in my life, according to his will.

Our Secondary Enemies

Now, even though Satan is our primary enemy we also do have humans who are our enemies, as well, for they do Satan’s bidding, whether or not they are aware that is what they are doing. So we will have other humans in our lives who will reject us, who will abandon and forsake and betray us, who will come against us to destroy us, and who won’t care what they do to us.

And some (or many) of these enemies may be others who profess faith in Jesus Christ, and they may be pastors of what are called “churches,” or they may be church staff or elders or deacons or Bible teachers. And their treatment of us may be something they learned and were taught or had modeled to them from their leaders or parents or whomever.

Some of them may do so automatically because of who they are or because of what they were taught, and there may be no forethought to their ill treatment of us whatsoever. And then there will be those who will absolutely put forethought to their behaviors and who will deliberately plot and carry out evil against us, like did Jesus’ persecutors, who were the religious.

Now, if we play along with them and if we do not “make waves,” and we compromise our faith, convictions, and practices in order to “fit in” and so people will like us, we are less likely to be ill treated by others, although there are no guarantees, but that is not the way that we, as followers of Jesus Christ, are to take. We are to be committed followers of Christ.

And so what that means is that we will be those who are daily dying to sin and living to righteousness, who are following our Lord in obedience, who are taking the Scriptures seriously and who are applying biblical truths to our daily lives. And we should then also be those who are spreading the truth of the gospel of our Lord and who are refuting Satan’s lies, too.

And when we do that, when we are committed to walking in obedience to our Lord and to taking his gospel to the ends of the earth, we are going to be opposed, even by professing Christians, and even by pastors who are not committed followers of Jesus but who are taking the broad road that leads to destruction rather than the narrow road that leads to eternal life with God.

Psalms 37:7 ESV

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!”

But whatever we are going through, whether it is something physical or emotional or mental and/or spiritual, and whether it is Satan attacking us directly or if it is his messengers coming against us, we are to take all these matters to the Lord in prayer. And we are to be still before the Lord, not fretting, not worrying, not panicking, and not taking matters into our own hands. But we should pray for his guidance in knowing how to respond.

And then we must wait on the Lord to act on our behalf and we must trust him fully even if our trials are prolonged or even if they turn out to be permanent and they will never go away. And we must surrender all to him and accept whatever it is he is allowing in our lives that he has a purpose for it all and then just pray that he will teach us what we need to learn through it all and that he will show us how he wants to use us because of it all.

[Matt 5:10-16; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 1:3-11; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Phil 3:7-11; Col 3:16; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Heb 3:13; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Pet 4:12-17]

Does Jesus Care?
1 Peter 5:7

Lyrics by Frank E. Graeff, 1901
Music by Joseph L. Hall, 1901

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?

Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near?

Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief there is no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long?

Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye”
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks—
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?

Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

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