A challenging time does not have to be overwhelming. As disciples of Jesus, our perspective should be shaped less by what we see around us and more by our faith in God. Be Still, and you will see God is with you.
This is a sermon by Jeff Schachinger preached during social distancing in March 2022. Listen to the sermon below.
Ask yourself this important question
Nobody had it harder than Jesus. When he was in the garden of Gethsemane, he was so upset that he fell face down on the ground. He was really struggling. But his faith in God helped him keep going, no matter what was happening.
It all comes down to one important question:
Do I believe God is in control?
How to rejoice in difficult situations
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Phil 4:4-7
Paul was in prison but still was able to rejoice. How? He didn’t let his tough situation control him. Instead, he had an “inner vision”. His intimate relationship with God gave him a special kind of inner strength.
The Apostle Peter understood this well, too. He said:
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.1 Pe 5:7
Our anxious response
We can be anxious about so many things! Our earthly nature too often to things in the following order:
Paul’s response – Pray
But Paul did the opposite:
And didn’t bother with the rest.
Imagine never being anxious about anything! Paul turned his worries into prayers – “present your requests (and anxieties) to God”.
The more we pray, the less we worry. Great things will happen:
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:7
Finding peace in your life
Many of us often feel like we’re missing God’s peace in our lives. We experience His power, strength, grace, and love, and sometimes even His wrath. But when we’re anxious, we really need to feel God’s peace. This is something Paul discovered.
Why is that important? The unprotected or unguarded heart opens the door for Satan’s attack.
- Something hits – it can be anything!
- Your brain goes numb – start feeling faithless and negative
- All problems become much bigger than solutions
- Start getting a bit edgy with people
- Start blaming others and eventually blame God
Paul says: NO! There IS a better way: Give it to God.
Have this attitude:
- If we need to learn a lesson, God teaches it
- If we need to crash, God picks us up
- If we need to grow, God strengthens us
- If we need to repent, God rebukes us
- If we need to be patient, God works with us
- If we need more of it, God will give it to us
- If we need to go away, God will remove it
We can find peace because we trust that God can handle everything. That’s what it means to have God’s peace.
In the book of Philippians, it’s clear that Paul didn’t just believe this; he lived it. The peace of God is beyond our understanding because it puts God in the driver’s seat. And that’s exactly where He should be. We realize that God has our back. That’s when we can truly let go and acknowledge that God is in control.
Be Still and know that I am God
Paul was a well-educated Pharisee who knew the scriptures very well, especially the Psalms.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”Psalms 46:10-11
11 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Peace comes from knowing and truly believing that God is in control. It’s one thing to say it, but how do we really believe it and live it, not just use it as a catchphrase?
Understand what God is asking of us
- “Be still” (Hebrew: “Rapha”) means: be weak/ let go/ release/ surrender
- “Know” (Hebrew: “yāda”) means: to know by observing or reflecting / thinking-reasoning
An interesting use of “Know” is in Genesis:
When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth.Gen 8:11
How did Noah know water had receded? He saw a leaf in a dove’s mouth. Even though didn’t actually see land – he knew from the evidence of the leaf. He was able to reason – there must be dry land out there somewhere!
What is God saying to us today? Be Still (rapha). Understand who you are and where you are in the grand scheme of things! In all God’s breathing creation – pound for pound – we are weakest!
Have you ever thought about why we’re not as strong as a bear, as fast as a cheetah, have the eyesight of an owl, or the endurance of a camel? It’s because that’s all they have! But we have something more special! We have a soul, something that makes us different from animals. Our soul lets us connect with God, and it’s the part of us that lives forever.
Eternity with God
God wants to spend eternity with us, but we can’t do it by ourselves because we are weak. He did this so we would realize we need His help! It’s totally okay to accept that you’re not perfect. Surrender, let go, and let God take over.
Be still and say, “God, this is yours!”
Paul understood this well. He talked about how he was proud of his weaknesses. He had a problem that bothered him, like a constant “thorn in his side.” He accepted that he couldn’t fix this problem by himself. He realized that it’s during our toughest times that we can become the strongest.
Give all your worries to God
Don’t let stress, fear, doubt, or upset feelings take over. Give all your worries to God and let Him take control. Stay calm, and remember that God is always there for you.
And what do we know? Yāda? What can we reason with these minds God has given us? Think back to Noah. God told him – build an ark – It’s going to rain for a while! Even though the sun was shining – build it!
And God was right…it rained!
We might have a tough time with lives at times…and an even tougher time in the future. – but we can trust God! This is exactly what we see in Paul when he was in prison.
He trusted God. All was good with his soul!
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.Phil 4: 12-13
We all need to be able to say this! Learn to recognize those times when you can’t be in control…and joyfully hand it over and say, “God… this is yours – I trust in you fully.”
You can also access this message in: