Dear Friends,

Romans 5:2-5 (NIV) 

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

We are at a time when many people across the world face serious challenges more than ever before. For many of us normal life has changed. Our Christian routines may have also been affected. For some this could be almost despair. It is definitely a time to stay close to the Lord and hold fast to Him. 

Tribulations include impaired health, insufficient finances, grief, unemployment, isolation, and many other things. Insecurity is the common issue. We feel vulnerable and need help. We tend to become full of questions too. That is the difficult truth. No one can say they have never felt overwhelmed by a situation. It is all too common for us as human beings. Having Christ as your Saviour means you have a "Rock" you are fastened to in the first instance. Saviour also means "rescuer" which tells us that God's help is also active help. 

The Scripture reminds us: -

"for he has said, “I will never leave you and I will never abandon you.”" (Hebrews13:5)

Here is our first place of hope and security. There is nothing we have to face on our own. It is right, therefore, that we seek to understand God's perspective of the situation as well as our own. That will take prayer and possibly counsel from a spiritual friend. Pressures tend to affect our viewpoint adversely and can diminish our hope at the same time. God always has the right answer and if we can come to understand His view and accept it with contentment, we are well on our way through. To persevere having to work through difficulty is not easy but strongly character building and that is very important to the Lord. We all would like a quick solution but that is rarely how it works. The Lord will use natural and supernatural means to help us. We must be active in co-operating with Him therefore. Faith is always active in some way even during quiet periods. Small steps are fine so long as you move forward. 

If there is one thing not to lose sight of it is that God is good always. Trouble is the devil's invitation to test our belief and resilience. God is not the author of our difficulties but is certainly our help and healer. The evil one will always want to try and convince us that God has taken away His love from us. Of course, that is simply stated as impossible!  It also has nothing to do with what we feel either. Paul's statement is solid truth: -

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8: 38,9)

When you can agree with this statement in the face of pain and grief you are holding on to the "Rock". Never be tempted to loose that tight grip. This is one of the most important parts of your struggle. Yes , our heavenly Father is a good,  good father all the time. Isn't it so amazing to realise that the strength God gives is made perfect in weakness? (2 Corinthians 12 :9)

God is renowned for His miracles but we need to recognize He is also our Shepherd in every part of life. Psalm 23 is so wonderful in reminding us of this fact. We may not be always happy but we can rejoice in our Lord for who He is and His ongoing saving grace and favour. 

God bless you

Pastor Keith Pascoe