“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10).
The Christian life is not easy, and it is obviously much more difficult for those suffering persecution in other lands, but God promises to give us the needed strength to stand and not give up. If we are going to experience such courage then we must first cast away our fears, anxieties and worries, and allow the Lord to lead us through to victory. How can we get to the place where we can trust in God so completely that no fear sticks to us?
God is with us
It would probably tax our minds to remember how many times we have seen the Lord deliver us out of impossible circumstances. We tried every way possible to remedy a situation or find a way out, but still found ourselves dismayed, fearful and anxious. Maybe we called someone to ask their advice, yet found they did not have the answer to our problem. Then we remembered that God was still with us. He had not forsaken us to wallow in the pit of despondency, but reached out and rescued us. “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD” (Psalm 40:1-3) … “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). Knowing that He is with us each step of the way gives us the courage to go on. “Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand” (Psalm 73:23).
It might annoy us when we go to others for help and they say, “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22), but that is exactly the needed element in our walk. It is those who “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7) that find assurance in God’s hand of righteousness. Everything might indeed seem to be too hard or impossible to solve, but let us not forget that we are following the Almighty God of Heaven. “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27) … “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26) … “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37).
The lack of faith does not mean that God has left our side, but it does mean that our unbelief in His power hinders His work in and for us. “And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:58) … “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). The victory can never be won through human ability or reasoning. Our strength is really the Lord’s power working in and through us. He gives us the victory the moment we choose to accept that He is all powerful. “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). With such confidence and assurance in our hearts the victory over our dilemmas is already won. “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37) … “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:14).
Notice what we often have, fear and dismay, but look at what God has promised us, His presence, “I am with thee”, assurance, “I am thy God”, power, “I will strengthen thee”, comfort, “I will help thee”, and courage, “I will uphold thee.” This fivefold promise ought to encourage us to never stop trusting in the Lord of righteousness. “Thy right hand is full of righteousness” (Psalm 48:10). We might not immediately experience the victory, but, with faith in our hearts, we can look beyond the problem to the answer. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). With each “thee” there is an “I” that goes with it, therefore we can have the courage to stand through each problem that comes our way.