By Jerry Price
Retired Pastor, Spring Hill
Focal Passage: Romans 8:26-32
The late Dr. Howard G. Hendricks, professor at Dallas Theological Seminary for 60 years, often spoke at conferences and seminars around the country. I have several of his messages on cassette tape. On one of them he tells about meeting an acquaintance and asking him how he was doing. The other person replied that he was okay under the circumstances. Dr. Hendricks shot back, “What are you doing under there?”
It seems as if there is an overwhelming number of circumstances that surround us on a continual basis. Not only is the number overwhelming but some of the individual circumstances seem overwhelming.
Many of you reading this right now are facing some daunting issues and you are not yet sure how you will deal with them. They threaten to flood over you like a tsunami and possibly sink your “ship of life.”
It is possible in those times to lose hope — to throw up one’s hands and say, “I can’t deal with this anymore. I give up.”
All too often today, we hear of someone finding themselves in that situation and taking their own life. If you (or someone you know) are in that situation, let me lovingly say to you, suicide is NEVER the answer.
It not only destroys the life of the one who does it but, in many ways, it destroys the lives of those left behind. I know! My father took his own life five days before Christmas in 1963. My mother and my sister never recovered from that. The only reason I did was because of the hope and grace that was mine in Christ — but it took years.
So, what about your circumstances, whatever they are? If you are a believer, you have a lifeline from God within you. His name is the Holy Spirit. Part of His ministry is to help in our weakness. The word help means to join together to assist.
When we have a situation we cannot handle, the Holy Spirit comes alongside of us to help carry the load. Even when we don’t know how to pray, He prays for us. Think of that! The Third Person of the Trinity prays for us in words and ways we don’t even understand. As a preacher friend of mine says, “That ought to bless you real big.”
Paul then informs us that whatever those circumstances are — good or bad — they “work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” Can that be true? Think of Joseph or Job or Jonah. Their difficult circumstances certainly turned out to their benefit.
There was certainly pain and tragedy in their situations — as there may be in ours. Sometimes those situations make life difficult and we wonder how we are going to get through them. It is in those times that we must remember that “If God is for us, who is against us?” The answer is, it really doesn’t matter. He is able to deliver us.
We must be aware that sometimes God delivers us out of the situation. But often He delivers us in the situation so that we might learn some valuable lesson.
Jesus, in praying for His disciples prayed, “I am not praying that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one” (John 17:15).
But He not only prayed for them, He prayed for you and me (John 17:20). He knew even then that we would face difficult times and situations that would require His strength.
So take courage. Don’t live under the circumstances. B&R — Price, a retired pastor and denominational worker, is a member of First Baptist Church, Spring Hill.