It was a pleasure to welcome Yan Hadley, our guest speaker, tonight after a long absence! He spoke on the subject of ‘Triumph in Times of Trouble’, reminding us of the need to be strengthened by God’s power even in trying times. Rom 8:37 reminds us we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us and 1 John 5:4 reminds us that faith is the victory that overcomes the world. We looked at Ps 40:1-3 to investigate the problem of despair, the puzzle of delay and the power of deliverance.
1. The Problem of Despair
It is not a sin to feel despair at difficult circumstances, but we must not cling to it. Despair leaves us feeling helpless and hopeless, and all of us feel this way on occasions. Despair can even lead us to contemplate suicide, but the hope we have is that God can meet with us even in a pit of despair. David spoke of being in a slimy pit, a barren and gloomy place to be, but as he cried out to God, God heard his cry. 1 Sam 1:6-20 shows us Hannah in despair over her childlessness; Luke 17:11-19 shows us ten lepers who were outcasts and rejected by society who cried out to Jesus. Mark 10:46-52 tells of blind Bartimaeus who felt useless and unloved but whose cry was heard by Jesus. The truth is that if we cry out to God, we will be saved (see Acts 2:21, Rom 10:13). When we cry out to God, He turns to us and hears us.
2. The Puzzle of Delay
There is no doubt, however, that God’s timescales are often baffling to us; we are puzzled and frustrated over God’s timing. Doubt, anger and resentment can creep in as we face troubles that just seem to keep on piling up. The confusion of God’s apparent slowness in answering us may well spoil our relationship with God, but David shows us we need to wait patiently for the Lord. Heb 6:12 tells us that it is by faith and patience that we inherit God’s promises. Jesus delayed when summoned to help Lazarus (John 11:5-6), and this delay baffled his sisters, especially since in the meantime, Lazarus died. But Jesus was able to do an even greater miracle by raising Lazarus from the dead; ther was purpose even in His delay. Eccl 3:11 reminds us that God makes everything beautiful in His time. We may find waiting testing, but we must learn to trust God in His puzzling delays.
3. The Power of Deliverance
Ps 40 shows us that God delivered David from the slimy pit; He set his feet on solid ground and gave him a new song to sing. David’s helplessness was transformed to hope; he went from sinking fast to standing firm, from sadness to singing a new song. Ultimately, it is in times of great testing that testimonies are born. Our deliverance is a sovereign work of God’s grace (note how many times these verses talk of what God does.) God’s deliverance will cause others to see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him. As we call on God’s name and stand firm on His solid foundation, we will know triumph in the times of trouble.