By Dimitris Pelidis


There comes a time in life when calamity strikes and troubles torments our soul to the point of despair. These are trying times, times when “we are pressed out of measure above strength, insomuch that we despair even of life” (2 Cor. 1:8). The days are swift and cheerless and the nights long and agonizing. For anyone who has been or is actually going through such travail he will surely identify with what follows.

Psalm 77:2-4:
In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.
3 I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.
4 Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak.

Apparently, it is a state of severe anguish and depression when our soul refuses to be comforted and our spirit is overwhelmed. Restlessness keeps our eyes open and grief seals our mouth. We reflect on the good old days and wonder why life has turned out so bitter and we pour out one question after another.

vv. 7-9:
Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more?
8 Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore?
9 Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.

This is a critical time because it is then that our faith in God is tested. Will we turn away from him or turn to him for help in time of need? Which way shall we go?

Psalm 73:25-26:
Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

After questioning God’s grace, the Psalmist eventually comes to his right mind and recognizes that this is his infirmity, his weakness, not God’s.

Psalm 77:10a:
And I said, This is my infirmity....

Nevertheless, man’s infirmity is God’s opportunity to help us overcome. The Lord has made it his business to be strong on our behalf. He fights our battles and always causes us to triumph in Christ (1 Cor. 2:14). All great heroes of faith were made strong through weakness. Not one person achieved greatness through his own power or ability. They were all without exception weak in themselves but grew strong in the Lord and the power of his might.

The great apostle Paul went so far as to boast in his infirmities because in his hour of trouble the Lord encouraged him by saying:

2 Corinthians 12:9-10:
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Peter, the great fisherman was familiar with tests. He knew that the fiery trial of our faith is normal and should not be seen as something strange but should be expected and that with joy.

1 Peter 4:12-13:
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

No man has ever suffered more than our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible depicts him as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3).

Yet, the reason why he went to the cursed cross was for the joy of our salvation. He saw the day when the Spirit of God would rest upon us and the joy of it far outweighed the terrible torture and shame he suffered to accomplish it.

Hebrews 12:2-3:
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Brothers and sisters, let us look unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith and consider him so that we don’t get tired and discouraged. Let us be strong and very courageous for the time of Christ’s glorious reappearance is very close. Then will our affliction be viewed in its true dimensions.

2 Corinthians 4:17:
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

Psalm 30:5:
For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

What a comfort to know that “the night is far spent, the day is at hand” (Rom. 13:12). The dawn of Christ’s glorious day is cracking and joy comes in the morning.

Hosea 6:1-3:
Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

His return is prepared as the morning! Just as surely as the sun will come out tomorrow morning and herald the beginning of a new day so will Christ come as the former and latter rain unto the earth. The question is when we shall know this. And the answer is only if we follow on to know the Lord.

We might not always understand why bad things come our way and why life seems so harsh and unfair at times but let us continue to know the Lord. Now is the time of revival! Following that, the daybreak of the third glorious day when our Lord returns and raises us up. Praise God! He is coming back! Cheer up for we will see him in very soon!

James 5:7-8, 10-11:
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh...

10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

We know from the story of Job that as he patiently waited on the Lord, God blessed his latter end more than his beginning. So will it be with all those who patiently wait upon the Lord.

In the time of trouble we pray for a miracle to happen and our God being a miracle working God will answer prayers of faith. However, we might not have realized the marvelous miracle that God is already performing quietly within us. Namely, the miracle of comforting us in the hour of tribulation. He gives us the strength and courage to endure and overcome.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4a:
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble ...

Has God forgotten to be gracious? Our God is the God of all grace and the Father of mercies. The Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy. His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Don’t you forget it, will you?

1 Peter 5:10:
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.



From the December 2001 issue of The Vine & Branches