|Volume 22 Number 6 June 2020||
Louis Rushmore, Editor
There was an occasion during the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ when many of His disciples turned from Him (John 6:41-66). “Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?’ But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’” (John 6:67-69 NKJV). Within Peter’s response is the rhetorical question that should resonate with every child of God, “To whom shall we go?”
To whom shall Christians turn in the face of every adversity and life challenge, today? To whom shall we go? Mankind in Jesus’ day commonly viewed everything from a physical and a literal perspective, and people were reluctant to make spiritual applications or to appeal to spiritual solutions to their problems and needs. Things haven’t changed much from then to now!
To whom shall Christians turn when they face personal health crises and their own mortality? Yes, we can and should avail ourselves of medical treatments to help deal with physical challenges. Yet, ultimately, our bodies wear out, and we arrive at the stage of life when the expression “patch, patch, patch” appears to be the order of the day every day. None of us will get out of this world alive—unless Jesus returns before we expire. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). To whom ought the child of God turn is obvious.
To whom shall Christians turn when they experience mistreatment by their taskmasters? There may be physical resources to which one can appeal, but there is always a superior resource to which every Christian can resort. “Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:22-24). To whom ought the child of God turn is obvious.
To whom shall Christians turn when they are buffeted by government? There may be legal recourses for which one can plea, but the child of God has divine, inspired instruction how to proceed (Romans 13:1-7). “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” (1 Peter 4:16). “But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard‘” (Acts 4:19-20; cf., Acts 5:29). To whom ought the child of God turn is obvious.
To whom shall Christians turn when unfair burdens are laid upon them? Will someone rescue them from oppression? Maybe. Nevertheless, the child of God is not left without divine instruction in these matters. “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two” (Matthew 5:41). Jesus taught how to disarm oppressive intentions toward His disciples. To whom ought the child of God turn is obvious.
To whom shall Christians turn when they have hardship in this life (i.e., economically, family necessities, etc.)? Often, there are governmental and non-governmental benefactors who can offer some relief. Yet, the child of God has a Divine Benefactor to Whom he can always turn. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). To whom ought the child of God turn is obvious.
To whom shall Christians turn when they personally know grief? Frequently, a dear one’s mere presence in silence is a more meaningful consolation than words anyone could say (Job 2:13). However, a superior Comforter awaits every child of God when those dire hours come. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). To whom ought the child of God turn is obvious.
To whom shall Christians turn when…? An infinite number of similar illustrations could be drawn from examination of the Scriptures. They all conclude with the rhetorical questions, “To whom ought the child of God turn?” To whom ought the child of God turn is obvious.
Christians could act like the rest of humankind and rely exclusively on physical remedies for whatever encounters befall them during their transit upon Earth. Unfortunately, that is exactly what many children of God do! In addition to physical solutions to life’s challenges, though, only Christians can enjoy the providential intervention of God (Matthew 6:25-34) and His eternal promises (Matthew 19:29). To whom ought the child of God turn is obvious.
During Times Like These
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
Living in a world filled with uncertainly is like trying to stand in a pool of quicksand, and many are sinking under its pull. COVID-19 has brought a new type of uncertainty and uneasiness to our communities. Almost everyone, in some way, is feeling the effects of this terrible virus. Americans are affected from a shortage of many daily necessities (toilet paper, hand sanitizers, etc.) to increased unemployment as well as store and school closings. Getting through such times, for most, is a great challenge. How can a person possibly pillow his head at night during times like these? Where can we turn amid such uncertainty? Christians can turn to God’s Word in general and Psalm 91 in particular. Would you, Dear Reader, take just a couple minutes to read Psalm 91 and consider some helpful observations from it?
Firstly, God is our shadow (vs. 1). “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” When we consider the nature of a shadow, we learn that a shadow is over us and far beyond the spot where we currently find ourselves. As humans, we cannot know for sure what lies ahead of the here and now. What will tomorrow bring? Will I suffer sickness, disease or failure? What a metaphor for the God we serve! God sees more than we can ever see, and God knows more than we can ever know. We can rest easy, even during trying times, knowing that God is our shadow, covering us with His love and mercy!
Secondly, God is our shelter (vs. 2). “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust”. Where can we go to avoid life’s problems and defeats? No matter where we go upon this earth, we are not completely “covered” or “quarantined” from earth’s struggles! However, when we climb into the Almighty, His sheltering care stops all of this world’s fears. The idea portrayed here is of a garrison or an impenetrable fort where those who are inside find security and safety. What a metaphor for God Almighty. Ultimately, outside forces will never hurt those who are truly “in God”! “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”!
Thirdly, God is our Savior (vs. 3). “Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.” Given the current crisis in our nation regarding COVID-19, it appears as though this verse was just penned. However, no matter the problem, pestilence or pain, God is the only deliverer on Whom we can truly count. Our nation is currently seeking a vaccine and an antidote for the terrible coronavirus. While I hope that there are advances in the medical field regarding such, vaccines, hospitals, medical professionals and all other human deliverers are not the real answer. God is the only One that can truly deliver mankind. Praise Him for being our Savior!
Fourthly, God is our shield (vs. 4). “He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” Mankind is daily seeking to be “covered” and “protected” from the horrific virus that has flooded our world. Dear Reader, there is simply no human invention that can completely and wholly cover us and protect us from this pandemic or any other worldly problem that we may face. However, God as our shield gives us the protection for which we long and for which we wait. Resting in God deflects the enemies of fear and doubt during these uncertain times! God’s defense is on every front and no aspect is beyond His infinite reach!
Now notice carefully the result that comes to those who have God as their shadow, shelter, Savior and shield.
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation. (Psalm 91:5-16)
While I am completely aware of the fact that COVID-19 may take my life and may take the lives of many whom I love, the truth of the matter is that if COVID-19 does not take my life, unless the Lord returns first, something will eventually take my life on this earth. Dear Readers, our strength in not in this life but rather in the life to come. I know that if I completely trust in God and obey His commands, one day my life will end here, and I will be escorted into a much better place! God is the real answer to COVID-19 as well as any other problem this world can bestow upon us. Serve God faithfully all of the days of your life and trust in Him completely, especially during times like these!