Thoughts on the Gospel by David Joy

June 2016 No. 233

‘Until the day break and the shadows flee away,’ Solomon’s Song Ch4 v 6

The Enduring Word of God

Very early on a stormy morning, as I stood in the darkness on the cliff tops near my home, I listened to unseen waves ravaging the seashore far below me. As I did so, I marvelled at the fact that the cliffs on which I stood had, despite turbulent seas, been there for thousands of years.

Reminded that Jesus is ‘the same yesterday, and today and for ever,’ Hebrews 13 v 8, I considered that, like the ancient cliffs upon which I stood, His word will however, endure for ever. It ‘is quick and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword...’ Hebrews 4 v 12.

And I remembered that whatever stormy trial may engulf the church or us personally that for those who have faith in Jesus, blessings will follow for ‘all things work together for good to them that love God..’ Romans 8 v 28.

Hidden Beauty

Trials can bring us into such a state of despair that our heart ‘is full of troubles,’ Psalm 88 v1,2.

But, friends, like the awesome beauty of the sea, for the moment hidden by the night, there is often beauty hidden in trials that will only be evident in future days or even years and we will realise our affliction was used by God to bring gladness to our hearts (Psalm 90 v 15.)

God’s Power

As day broke, I could clearly see the majestic and powerful waves relentlessly advancing upon the seashore below, and I recalled that in ancient times God had ‘caused the sea to go back,’ Exodus 14 v 21.

And so, when affliction, loss or despair relentlessly advance upon us, like wave after wave rolling in upon the shore, may we gain strength from the thought that the same God who turned back the sea, is still in control.

The Church's Future

In the revealing light of daybreak I wondered what effect the many stormy ‘sufferings of this present time,’ Romans 8 v 18, will have on the Christian Church? Will it ‘be able to withstand in the evil day...’ Ephesians 6 v 13?

The churches troubles have been, throughout the centuries, such, that at times it was at a very low ebb, and indeed Jesus said that in this life we ‘shall have tribulation,’ John 16 v 33. Can we predict what the future will bring?

No one can foretell exactly what is yet to happen on earth. It may be that the darkness that hinders the church will deepen still further and the shadows that cripple it will be multiplied.  But rather than dwell on these possibilities we should be strengthened by the fact that, as the disciples stood watching Jesus ascending to heaven, two angels appeared and said ‘men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner, as ye have seen Him go into heaven,’ Acts 1 v 11.

And so, whatever His plan for the future we can be assured that not only will Jesus come again but all who have trusted in Him will one day join Him in a ‘new heaven and a new earth,’ Revelation 21 v 1.
Christ’s Return

That day may possibly be nearer than we think. It is certainly nearer now than it was two thousand years ago and getting nearer every day that passes. But whenever the Lord returns, all the shadows of doubt, unbelief, fear and sin, that trouble His church, shall disappear.

For then all that was hidden will, like all that was revealed on the clifftop by the breaking of a new day, be revealed as the dawn truly breaks, the shadows flee away and the redeemed ‘inherit all things,’ Revelation 21 v 7.

May this encourage us to look beyond the present day to the day when the great Shepherd shall gather in His flock from ‘every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation,’ Revelation 4 v 9, and their conflicts will be for ever over.

The Ebbing Tide

Later that day, as I looked at the sea, the tide had ebbed, the wind had died down, and the storm had ended, reminding me that ‘to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose ..’ Ecclesiastes 3 v 1.

Friends, troubles come and go and the seasons of life are ever changing. We will have our good days and our bad days but God has a purpose and time for everything.

Yes, life will bring us trials and disappointments, but as the ebbing tide brought peace to the seashore, so does God often, after tribulation, bring peace into our hearts.

May we be strengthened by the thought that the God, who has been good to us in the past, near to us in the present and given us hope for the future will never, ever leave us or forsake us.