In Times of Uncertainty
Evangel Tabernacle | On 26, Sep 2019
By: Bro Joel Lao / 22 September 2019
33I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world
Life is full of disappointments. Many times, Our dreams, our hopes, our desires, turns to dust and gone in the wind before our very eyes. And sometimes when this happens, we feel like the world is crashing around us.
We plan, we strive, we struggle, we spend, we hope, we pray….., only to end up disappointed because it didn’t end up the way we planned or the way we imagined, or the way we wanted it to be.
The fact is No one can be 100% sure if what he planned will succeed or not. Not any one of us here knows what lies ahead of us. Life is just full of uncertainties. Somewhere along the way, something unwanted or unexpected happens, and EVERYTHING BECOMES NOTHING.
I believe each one of us has somehow come across uncertainties in life. And these uncertainties in life often lead us to worry about things that have not yet come. We become fearful of the uncertainty that we fill face tomorrow. So we prepare for it. We devise various plans to prepare ourselves.
Today I am going to share a message entitled IN TIMES OF UNCERTAINTY.
I. THE UNCERTAINTIES OF LIFE
I will talk about the uncertainties of life as Christians. Because even as a Christian, we are not free from all these things.
I have come to realize that when God promises us something, God does not give it to us instantly. God does not work that way.
God does not even reveal to us how He is going to fulfil His Word or His promise to us or when it will happen. There is always a process involved. And in this process, we will encounter the struggles and the uncertainties of life. In the midst of it, Sometimes you may even wonder, “Did God really promised me so? Did I hear it correctly from God? If so, why are these things happening to me now?
Take for example the life of Abraham. God called Abraham to leave his country and his people and go to a place he is not even familiar with. God said in
“Go from your country your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you a great nation and I will bless you”.
And so Abraham went and when he reached the land of Canaan, God said in
“I am going to give this land to your descendants.”
However, just 3 verses after God promised Abraham to give this land to his descendants, we read in
“now there was famine in the land”.
Now this is quiet interesting. You see when Abraham left his country, he was not poor then. In fact he was rich. Genesis 12:5 tells us that He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all his wealth-the cattle and slaves he had gotten in Haran ….. Abraham was living a comfortable life then owning a lot of cattles and slaves. And God took him out of his country and brought him to Canaan where there was a severe famine.
Why would God allow a severe famine in the land where He just promised to give to Abraham and his descendants? Suddenly, Abraham’s life change. With the severe famine in the land, Abraham is faced with the uncertainty of surviving the famine.
Actually It was a test of Abraham’s faith in God. And Abraham did not argue with God.
Abraham just did what everybody could have done. He has to go to a country where there is food and so he ended in Egypt living as a foreigner. He feared his life in Egypt to the point that they have to pretend that Sarai was just his sister, which is half-truth. (Sarai is the daughter of Abram’s mother but not of father). Abraham left his country where he was living comfortably and stayed in a country where He feared his life when He responded to God’s call.
Have you ever been in this situation in your life? Or somehow similar situation. You received a word from God, You received a rhema from God, you followed God, and things didn’t turned out as you imagined it to be. How would you feel or react if it happens to you.?
I am sharing this message out of my own experience because I found myself in this similar situation, which I am still in right now.
Many times our future becomes uncertain because of unwanted or unexpected circumstances that happen in our life. Say for example, a sudden loss of the bread winner of the family. Or a medical result stating you have a terminal illness. It will definitely shake your world and wonder if there will still be tomorrow. Can my children still go to school? Can I still be able to pay for the rental of my house? How will I be able to provide for my family? What will be the future of my family?
Circumstances can change our lives overnight. It could be our marriage that is on the verge of separation. It could be our career that is not doing well or we are terminated from our job for whatever reason, it could be a failed business investment. These are circumstances in our lives that we can’t control
And Life will never be the same after that. This is the reality of life. Nothing is certain. When Abraham obeyed God and started his journey, Abraham has only God’s word as his assurance and security. He didn’t question God’s dealing when faced with uncertainties of time.
However these uncertainties bring stress, worries, struggles, hopelessness and oftentimes we become depressed and become fearful of the uncertainty our future might hold.
Oftentimes we keep asking the question Why is God allowing this to happen, Why am I in this situation. And we spend time wallowing, sulking, and we become engrossed in disappointment and despair. We always wanted to ask the question why. It is as if God owes you an explanation. And I experienced that in the past.
Testimony on the purchase of land in Passi
One day God reminded me in my devo that all throughout these years, He has never failed to provide for my needs. God has never failed in His Word. So I told myself that isn’t it ironic that I am serving an Almighty God and yet I am anxious about tomorrow because of my situation, particularly on the new business that I am engaged in. Many times I see the hand of God protecting me and the word of God comforting me and giving me the assurance everytime I am in a similar situation before. And so I followed the what Abraham did, I just commit everything into God’s hand.
My brothers and sisters, I don’t know what uncertainties in life that each one of you is facing today. It could be your studies? You are not sure if you can go to college because of financial reasons. Your careerYour business? Or Your marriage?
But Allow me to share with you today the things I learned in the midst of the uncertainties. It gave me strength to face it. And even as I speak in front of you today, I admit I am in the middle of the battle. And these are some of the things that I learned and realized as I continue with my battle.
II. REMEMBER GOD’S FAITHFULNESS
14“This is a day to REMEMBER. Each year, from generation to generation, you must celebrate it as a special festival to the LORD. This is a law for all time.
On the final plague when the Lord delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, the angel of death killed all the firstborn of Egypt. And the Lord gave this specific instruction before the Passover Night so that the people will remember how the mighty hand of God delivered them from the bondage of slavery. And on the very day when God brought them out of Egypt, God again reminded the Israelites in
14In the future, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you are to tell him, ‘With a mighty hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
Notice that God gave them the specific instruction before the exodus began. And after they went out of Egypt, again God gave the same instruction to remember the day God has delivered them from the hands of the Egyptians. I don’t think God is “ulyanin”.
4So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel.
5He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the LORD your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel.
6We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’
7Then you can tell them, ‘They REMIND us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the LORD’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a MEMORIAL among the people of Israel forever.”
God was with the Israelites at the start of Exodus from leaving Egypt, crossing of the Red Sea, 40 years in wilderness led by Moses and then finally crossing the Jordan River and stepping in the promised land led by Joshua. And the first thing the Israelites did was build a memorial for the Lord. For what? TO REMEMBER GOD’S DELIVERANCE.
God didn’t want the Israelites to forget how He delivered them from the impossible situations. The Israelites have to celebrate the Passover from generation to generation to remind them of God’s faithfulness. But as we go on with Israel’s history, the memorial is not just for them to remember God’s faithfullness. God knows that Israel will have to face a lot of uncertainties in the future and they need to be reminded of how God delivered them in the past.
Reminding ourselves of God’s faithfulness in the past will give us hope and strength for the struggles and the uncertainties that lie ahead.
The STORY OF EVANGEL TABERNACLE
Now why am I saying all these things. To remind us of God’s provision, of God’s goodness to each and every one of us here today. It is necessary for us to be reminded because in the near future, we will face more struggles, more challenges and more uncertainties. But looking at what God has done to this church, We can be certain that God is with us, God will fight the battle for us. God will bring out the best in us. That God will be with us in time of uncertainties as long as we obey Him and walk right with Him.
During uncertain times remember how God has helped you in the past. Just as He has provided for you in the past He will certainly provide for you in the future.
Before I continue with my next point, Allow me to sidetrack a little bit.
If we take a look at the world today, we can notice that the world becomes worse and worse. The sin of the world is elevated to the next level. I once heard in a senate hearing when they passed this controversial bill, a lawyer from 700 club Asia stressed that with the passing of this bill the TRUTH becomes IRRELEVANT because what is more important is what a person feels and believes for himself. This is like what the bible says when the Israelites sinned against God. That everybody did as they saw fit. The world has forgotten about God. And why is that, we don’t tell our children about God anymore
When Moses passed the baton to Joshua to lead the Israelites to the land of Canaan. Joshua did everything that Moses commanded. And he successfully led the Israelites to the land of Canaan. But let us read what happened when Joshua died.
10After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the LORD or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.
11The Israelites did evil in the LORD’s sight and served the images of Baal.
Joshua’s generation was gone, and the next generation did not know God nor did they remember the thing God had done for Israel. Here we can see the effect of not remembering God’s faithfulness and goodness in our lives. The previous generation failed to share to the next generation the God that delivers them from the hands that oppressed them. And yet this was at the center of God’s law
9But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.
Watch out! Never to Forget! Be Sure! These are strong reminders from the Lord. And God is directing this task and responsibility to the parents. God is urging the parents to teach their children about God’s faithfulness and provided the means to pass on from one generation to the next generation.
No wonder why the world is getting evil and evil. Generation after generation the sin rises to next level. Because the basic unit of the society, which is the family, fails to teach their children the ways of God. We share or testify to other people the great acts of God in our lives, but are we sharing them to our own family too?
I am also speaking to myself. I have a 4 year old daughter and sometimes it is so difficult to explain to her what is happening in the world. Evil things are just everywhere especially in social media. Evil practices becomes a norm in our society. We have to be careful what our children are playing or watching in social media. Because often times they learn more things in these gadgets. The social media has more influence in our society today. We just have to closely monitor them. One way to introduce God to our children is to share to them the mighty works that God performed in our lives. Where else can they learn more about God if we don’t share it to them in our homes. ?
III. THE WORD OF GOD IS NOT EMPTY
God is a powerful God and so is the word that comes out from his mouth. God created this world with just Words that come out of his mouth. When God said let there be light, And so there was light. Imagine the power of the word that comes out of His mouth.
Isaiah 55:11 (NIV)
11so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
When God says that His Word will not return to Him void, we are encouraged to abide in His Word. The promise is that God will fulfil His Word according to His purpose, and not necessarily according to what we desire.
When we receive a rhema from God, we become very excited, very enthusiastic, and very encouraged to go ahead with a plan. We speak of faith. But as we face negative circumstances, we also start to doubt the word of God.
I will not deny that there were times that I started to doubt. It is very uncertain if the court will rule in our favour. Everything is uncertain. I am not EVEN sure if the barangay or the city hall will allow me to open the business since the court has not decided on the case yet. And I know it will take years before the court will release its ruling. I have no savings left and I have a huge sum of debt.
There is nothing left to do but to be still and rely on God’s word. The only assurance I have is the WORD of GOD. One thing is for certain. If God is with me, I know God is faithful to His promises. I know God will rescue me.
After seven years of waiting, just this July 2019, The Regional Trial Court finally dismissed their claim over the property and ruled it in our favour. Truly God’s Word is not empty. He is true to His promise to me and my wife that He will give us that property. I have now the title of that property free of liens and encumbrances.
19God is not a man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?
When we rely on God’s Word, He will certainly protect us and provide us because He is a faithful God. And he is faithful to His promises to us. No matter what situation we are in, no matter how uncertain things look like, as long as we are in God’s will, as long as we stand on the rhema of God, We can have the peace of mind. we can be certain that God will take care of us. Why? God is in Control
God is a masterplanner and God has the masterplan of our life.
IV. GOD HAS THE MASTERPLAN
Each one of us has his or her own dreams and plans, right? And we plan our lives carefully. We carefully consider each step we make to ensure that the end result will be achieved. If they are to be achieved with ease or pain, or it may not be accomplished at all. It all depends on God.
9In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
21You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.
Nothing happens by accident in life nor it is just a coincidence. We also hear the phrase blessing in disguise. But Is it really a blessing in disguise or is it part of God’s plan….
TESTIMONY ON MY WORK IN BANK
Little did I know that while I was in the bank, God was slowly equipping me with skills and knowledge that will be needed in the future.
I believe that nothing happens by accident. There is always a reason why God has put each one of us in a particular place at a particular time. Where you are right now is where God wanted you to be.
See the connection now? 17 years ago, God had already prepared me. God saw the future and He equipped me with the necessary skill to do research on the ownership of the property. It was a job that I don’t find any relevance in my life during that time while I was still working in the bank. Im doing it because this is what the bank paid me to do. Little did I know that God is slowly preparing me for something big.
Was it a coincidence that I was once assigned as an Appraiser, that I was trained to research on land titles 17 years ago? No, Because God had the foreknowledge of things to come. Everything that happens in our lives in planned by God. Everything that happened is the past is part of God’s masterplan.
The foreknowledge of God means He knows what will happen to us in the future. He knows what we need in the future. He knows our future is. God already knows exactly what is going to happen. If we understand God’s foreknowledge then we can trust him with our future.
8And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
God can work all things out simply because he already knows the events and things that will happen to us. So we can be rest assured he knows what is going on in our lives. We can put our trust in Him. We can rely on His word and promises. But remember, God is not working to give us what we desire, but to fulfil His purpose.
If cirmcumstances doesn’t look favourable today, don’t complain, do not go against Him, don’t question Him. Instead Trust Him and follow His lead because certainly He sees your journey from beginning to end and He certainly knows what is best for you. God doesn’t think the way we think. God doesn’t work according to our plan. God works in our lives according to His purpose.
We all know the story of Queen Esther and Joseph. Was it mere coincidence that Esther was made Queen and when later on the King ordered the annihilation of the Jews? Was it mere coincidence that Joseph became a powerful man in Egypt when a severe famine strike the region? All these are no coincidences. These are all orchestrated by God. These are all included in the blueprint of God. God knows our future. Just continue to rely on his words, and His plans will unfold at the right time in the right place. We may be uncertain of things that happening in our lives right now. But God doesn’t miss a thing in His plans. And God knows every step that we make.
Sometimes God keeps us in a waiting room to be equipped, to be trained and to be prepared for what he has planned for us. If we go ahead of God’s plan we may miss the opportunity He has prepared for us.
Sometimes we become weary of waiting for God. But the moment we put our hope in our ability to achieve our goals, then be also prepared for disappointment.
11For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
V. CERTAINTY IN JESUS CHRIST
While it is true that life is full of uncertainties, we can find hope ,assurance and certainty in our Saviour Jesus Christ. We should not be overcome by fear in times of uncertainties. For as long as we are walking right with God, our future is already secured in our Lord Jesus Christ. If we trust God with our future, The times of uncertainty becomes only an apparent uncertainty. There is an absolute certainty in the promises of our Lord Jesus Christ.
33I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world
If we remember that the ultimate victory has already been won on the cross, we can claim the peace of Christ in the most uncertain times of our life.