A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford
Events this week have been heart-breaking: another mass shooting, a crisis in the middle east that could engulf our world in flames, our country perhaps more fragmented politically than other time since our beginnings, economic pressures like we’ve seldom encountered. Not much to feel hopeful about.
So maybe it’s a good time to take a deep breath and listen to the God who is the King of All Kings and Lord of All Lords. He created us. We are central to His plans for this universe. What would your Heavenly Father tell you, in His tender, loving voice of wisdom and power, about this week?
One answer is found in the Prophet Habakkuk’s book. It was a terrible time for Israel, under siege by the Babylonian army. God warned Habakkuk that the Babylonians would crush them, so Habakkuk wrote in agony:
“When I heard, my body trembled; My lips quivered at the voice; rottenness entered my bones; and I trembled in myself, That I might rest in the day of trouble. When he [the Babylonian king] comes up to the people, he will invade them with his troops” (Habakkuk 3:16).
The prophet describes what then would happened. “Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls. . .” (Hab. 3:17). There is not one glimmer of hope in that passage.
But then the prophet adds, “Although all this is true, yet I find comfort.” You might ask, what comfort could you find in that terrible situation? Habakkuk answers,
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The LORD God is my strength; Habakkuk 3:18,19
In a time of your deepest trouble, Your God is still Almighty God. He is still in control. He has the power, and the wisdom, and the unfathomed love to keep you safe, no matter the circumstances. Philippians 4:6,7 says exactly the same thing:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything
by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving,
let your requests be made known to God;
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
God is saying to your burdened heart, “Don’t worry about anything.” Not anything? War? Murder? Rampant inflation? Betrayal? Yes, God answers, “Don’t worry about anything.” Instead, thank Him for what He is going to do. Then pray earnestly. Tell him your fears, your burdens. “Let your requests be made known to God.”
Then what will happen? “The peace of God will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Your heart will be guarded by God’s peace. You may not be able to understand why, when nothing has really changed. It will “surpass all understanding.” You may not see a logical reason for your peace—except that you know that the Lord Jesus has given you peace, and you can rest in His loving presence.
Yes, this week was terrible. But the loving and powerful Creator of heaven and earth is still in control of His creation. Even better. He is in control of your life specifically. He will make it all turn out right for you and those you love, since you’ve trusted Him to be your Savior.
So yes, wait for Him, with the peace that “passes understanding.”