Jesus is Our Only Hope and In Him We Must Trust
By Jeanne Mohr
Last month, we celebrated once again our nation’s independence. But for me, for the first time, there was sadness. Perhaps because on this particular 4th of July, I was keenly aware that our personal liberties have been eroded and all but lost. And, each day seems to bring news of further loss and erosion.
Consequently, the 4th of July no longer represents what our country was once founded upon, governed and guided by: independence from a king, and full dependence on a sovereign God and Savior, who inspired a Constitution like no other. If the present trend continues — and it seems to be steam rolling full-speed ahead with no indication of turning back — it’s possible that those same God-fearing and God-honoring principles will be lost forever!
Because God, the Righteous Judge, judges the sin of nations as well as individuals, we can expect Him to deal drastically with us as a nation. “The wicked will be turned to Sheol, even all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17). Yet, no matter how extreme that may be— no one, or nothing, need take true freedom in Christ from us.
Prophets of old were called, at great personal expense, to warn Israel of disastrous times ‘coming soon’ to their area. The people, naturally (like us?), didn’t want to believe that their sin and idolatry had earned them such punishment. How could a God who is good treat His chosen people so? Therefore, the prophets’ warnings were not only often rejected, but the prophets themselves became outcasts, perceived as enemies of both people and king and thrown into prison.
Jeremiah, foretelling of the Babylon invasion and that Israel must surrender, found himself lowered by ropes into a cistern, sinking into mud, pondering his plight. Can’t you just hear him crying, “God, I’m just trying to serve You and deliver Your Words to Your people…” (Jeremiah 38:1-6).
The prophet, Habakkuk, as he questioned and complained why the wicked were prospering and the righteous weren’t, was told to record the vision; to make it so plain that those who read it could run with it! Before his eyes and into his spirit came revelation of invasion. Destruction. Destitution. Overwhelmed and overcome by the magnitude of it all he said, “I heard and my inward parts trembled; at the sound my lips quivered. Decay entered my bones and in my place, I trembled.” Why? Because he must wait quietly for the day of distress, for the people to arise who would soon invade them!
Above all, he knew God had spoken; therefore, God would bring it to pass. The prophet then made a decision that would free him, in and through, the coming disaster. “Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vines. Though the yield of the olive should fail, and the fields produce no food. Though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls. YET I will exalt in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength and He makes my feet like hinds feet, and makes me walk on my high places” (Hab. 3:17-19).
Let’s slow those verses down, because they flow so eloquently it’s easy to become lulled into ease by their poetry and beauty, thus missing their stark reality.
Real-life hunker-down tragedy was on its way; everything needed for Israel’s sustenance for their daily life, could soon be gone. Food, grain, fruit, oil, meat, milk—everything necessary to sustain and maintain them, unbelievably, could soon vanish! And in their place incredible consequences of empty hands and empty bellies. Yet for Habakkuk, his choice and stand as Jehovah’s judgment drew near was that he would “exalt in the Lord” and “rejoice” in the God of his salvation! And because he’d do so, he would walk in high places above his enemies. Now that’s true liberty! National sin could bring him great loss; yet his own personal faith and choice would cause him to triumph in the midst of any of it!
The Psalmist Asaph, in Psalm 73, looks around him and sees the people mocking God, and arrogant in their wickedness. Yet…they’re prospering! It isn’t until he enters the sanctuary that he begins to understand their end. His declaring words of trust will hold us as well in the midst of a people far from God. “Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on Earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my life, and my portion forever.”
As I’ve looked of late at Jesus’ words, I’ve been surprised how many of them hold warnings; especially having to do with end times, and as His coming draws closer.
For instance: We don’t like hearing that loved ones could turn against us. Now that’s ‘real’ personal. Instead, we like to focus on passages of comfort and encouragement. Yet Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the Earth; I did not come to bring peace but a sword,” are not what you would call ‘comforting’. And as Jesus explains further: “I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be members of his household,” can’t be situations we’d ever like to experience. Family relationships ripped apart because of our faith in Jesus? Surely not in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Yet for millions all over the world that is exactly the cost they must pay when they become ‘born-again’. It’s not unusual for a conservative Jewish family to not only disown a member who becomes a believer in Yeshua, but to hold a mock funeral for that person!
Tass Saada, in his book, Once An Aarfat Man, relates his returning to Qatar in the middle east to meet with his family. He’d already written to them in detail about his salvation and belief in Jesus. They’d told him that they never wanted to see him again, and if given the chance they’d execute him. Yet Tass believed God was leading him to meet with them, deciding “If it costs me my life— so be it!”
Family members met him at the airport in Doha, the eldest brother armed with a pistol. If that brother had killed Tass on the spot as he planned to do, with the family as witnesses, Tass’ body would have been left dead in the street, and his brother would not have been prosecuted. Instead, he would have been called a hero for spilling the blood of one who had befouled the family’s honor and insulted the family’s religion. A killing of honor according to Moslem Law. (pg 173).
But our God had other plans, and brought about reconciliation instead.
Even now He wants us to learn to walk a Kingdom-walk of personal liberty, unfettered by possessions or people as our nation and world experience God’s righteous Hand of judgment pressing harder and harder. According to God’s Word we’ve got to quit thinking that these things could never happen to us, and realize they already are!
Today, God is preparing us for incredibly difficult times, in the same way that an athlete has to stay in training between seasons in order to remain ready, and a soldier continually prepares for battle. Every situation is to be an opportunity for new and deeper trust as we go toe to toe with whatever comes while declaring, as did Habakkuk and the Psalmist Asaph, “BUT GOD…”
Like this: “I thought I was going to get a promotion. Instead, I’ve lost my job! BUT GOD, is still my Provider;” “My husband, after all this time, hasn’t gotten saved. BUT GOD, you’re still Savior and my Lord, and I put him into Your hands;” “I don’t think I can go through cancer again, BUT GOD, with You I can. You’re my Healer whether I’m sick or well. You alone hold my life.”
This wonderful ‘But God’ principle will change us. It will cause us, like those mentioned above, to walk on our high places — above everything! It brings faith and trust right into the middle of the crisis and scatters the enemy. ‘But God’ brings us new and lasting independence, no matter what we must endure be it a devastating natural disaster, terrorist attacks, a financial meltdown or outright persecution.
Will we search the scriptures for God’s warnings, then take each one to heart? Will we warn others in this final hour?
Shepherds of the flock: will you preach warnings
so that you’ve prepared your people to endure ‘til the end? Or…will you preach
only positive feel-good messages of peace and safety giving false assurance
that all is well, until suddenly…destruction is upon them?
Jeanne Mohr directs Living Praise Ministries, which includes Living Praise Publications and Open Door Counseling Centre, offering free biblical counseling. She is the author of BattlePlan, And the Beat Goes On, All That Glitters, Put Down Your Anchor, Ride Out The Storm, and Absolutely. Her “Lets Write for Jesus” Workshop inspires others to get their testimonies and books into print. Jeanne has four children, ten grandchildren, and one great grandchild and resides with her dog, Sammy, in High Ridge, Missouri. To learn more about her ministries she may be contacted by calling (636)- 376 4009, emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org, writing to her at Living Praise Ministries, P.O. Box 1431, High Ridge, MO 63049, or by visiting her website at www.livingpraiseministries.com.