23rd August, 2020

Text: Isaiah 43:1-7.

There is no doubt that we all are in a very difficult time. The Covid19 Pandemic has virtually affected so many lives that no one is left out of its consequences. Many plans for the year have failed, dreams shattered, programs cancelled, trips put in the cooler and projections unreasonable. At this difficult time, no one is left out whether rich or poor, high or low, educated or uneducated. One great mistake anyone could make is to assume that your neighbour is not feeling the heat all because he has not complained nor felt it where you are feeling yours.
The truth is that the times are difficult and everyone is feeling the heat. You think your neighbor is not feeling the heat because he has not lost his happiness. Let me make it clear that it is possible to be happy even at a difficult time. I am not even talking about joy in Christ for that is not negotiable. As long as you have Jesus, nothing should take away your joy. (John 16:20-22) But I am speaking of happiness which many people have said can be determined by circumstances. But I maintain that you can still have your happiness at difficult times.
Three things I just want to mention though I believe these three are not exhaustive. I might disappoint some religious bigots who shall expect me to mention prayer, fasting etc as keys to happiness in difficult times. But the truth is that I have seen many prayerful people who are not happy at difficult times even after prayer marathon. Actually, the more prayerful some of them are, the less happy they become during difficult times for they felt disappointed that things didn’t go their way. So, if you want to be happy at difficult times, you will need to do these 3 things as work on yourself to achieve them.

Isaiah Chapter 43 presents a difficult time of passing through the waters, passing through the rivers and walking through the fire. (Isa. 43:2) Two times, the Lord told His people to fear not with some promises for them to believe. (Isa 43:1, 5) From the first seven verses, if you want to be happy in difficult times,

1. FRET NOT-The Oxford English Dictionary defines “fret” as “to be visibly anxious/worried.” If you are going to retain your happiness, fret not. The Lord says, He has called you by name. (vs1) Fret not, He loves you to the end. (Psa. 37:1, 7-8, John 13:1)

2. FAINT NOT – God said, “you are mine.” (1) He who owns you do not faint, so faint not. (Isa. 40:28) If you are a child of God, your DNA does not faint.(Pro. 24:10) Faintness is a matter of the heart. So, watch your heart. Do not faint for God’s promises never fail.

3. FEAR NOT– It is noteworthy that this message was addressed to the people of Israel when they were suffering the evils of Babylonian captivity. Though they were captives, and had suffered long, yet the Lord says, they had nothing to fear in regard to their final extinction as a people. Fear not, for He has redeemed you, not that He shall redeem you. (vs1) He has done it already.
Fear not for God is with you even at this difficult time.(vs 5) Fear is the apprehension of danger, both natural and moral though some are more timid than others when it comes to natural fear. But this is no index to the moral state of the heart. Nerves which are strong do not constitute faith while nerves which are weak do not indicate distrust in God. He who speaks is our Creator. When God is with us, He is for us, and who or what can be against us?

In this passage, we have two of God’s gracious promises. These are His presence and His preservation. With these two, He supports and strengthens us. He promises us His presence even in our trials. “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee.” So, do not imagine yourself being left alone in difficult times. In addition also is the promise of preservation under all our calamities. Because you are precious in His eyes, He will give Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba as a ransom for you.

These three nations symbolize Israel’s great worth. He can pull down to raise you up. Recently, I watched a Christian movie titled “The Hope of Glory” which centered around the story of a lady who was jilted by her fiance, a Captain in the Armed forces few weeks to her wedding because of her new found faith in Christ. Though it was difficult for her, she refused to deny Christ in exchange for her wedding. Few weeks after the disgrace/difficult experience, a Single General was transferred to their area and became engaged to her by divine arrangement. Unfortunately for the arrogant Captain, he was deployed as the Aide de Camp of the General. He ended up being like a servant to his former fiancée. May your life ultimately radiate God’s glory.(7) So, fret not, faint not and fear. You will still move from glory to glory. You will laugh last. Shalom.

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