“For there is hope for a tree, If it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease. Though its root may grow old in the earth, and its stump may die in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant.” Job 14:7-9 NKJV
A medical doctor asks his driver to drive to the third mainland bridge connecting the Lagos mainland to the Lagos Island. He commands him to park on the bridge, then gets out of his car and plunges into the lagoon. Efforts to retrieve his corpse from the lagoon lead to the discovery of two other corpses. And then, few days later a woman is rescued as she attempts to do the same.
Suicides are not new to Nigeria but not as rampant as in South Korea, Japan and some other nations. Nigeria was once described as the happiest nation on earth only to be adjudged the sixth happiest recently. Hard times have fallen upon the nation due to years of corruption and mismanagement of public funds. These, coupled with declining oil prices, further dip in foreign exchange earnings due to militancy in the oil-producing Niger Delta region as well as the slow pace of the current federal government in responding to the economic crisis have created a fast erosion of the middle class, hyperinflation in the face of massive retrenchment in the private sector, salary cuts and unpaid salaries in both the public and private sectors.
But no matter how long a crisis lasts, it is not the first of such; neither will it be the last. Truth be told, the cycle of economic booms and subsequent recessions are endless. Recessions do come and go and that makes me agree with ‘Robert Schuller’ as he titled a book, ‘Tough times never last but tough people do’. From my experienced so far on earth, I have seen tough times come and go.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5 NLT
While the above scripture in context deals with our attitude to persecution, the truths embedded in it are parallel to every challenge or problem that confronts the believer. There are always positives in such negative circumstances. Children of God can always respond to trials and troubles with positive attitudes, some of which are outlined below:
We are expected to rejoice in difficult seasons because endurance (the ability to stretch and maintain composure under pressure) has been built in us. It’s the trial of our faith which in the sight of God is of greater price than gold. When faith is tried and it is supported by endurance, it will deliver spiritual success at the end. Our trials help enlarge our capacity to believe God and to hold up under pressure till the promises of God are delivered. We are to rejoice because endurance will work character within us. Every time we reach deeper into the grace of Jesus Christ in our spirits to handle circumstances that seem overwhelming to us, it works Christlikeness in our characters. The fruit of the Spirit manifests in our lives.
Godly character works out hope within us. Like that scripture shows how trials strengthens the hope of eternal salvation within us, we as believers can expect things to turn out in our favour even when though we may not understand how they will. Perhaps, the most exciting truth about our hope in Jesus is the fact that this hope will not lead to disappointment. Our text reads about a fallen tree which can stand again and be revived. Its fall, dryness, and loss of vitality do not have to be its end. Just a scent of water and life is restored. What a powerful illustration of a man in a hopeless situation who encounters the Holy Spirit everything turns around for good and for him. Yes, regardless of recession, depression and retrogression, you can bounce back to victory. The Spirit of God will respond to your faith and help you stand again. The guarantee of this hope is God’s love for us.
Our text says our hope will not lead to disappointment because God loves us dearly. There are loving, yet unhelpful people in this world. There are also unloving people who have the capacity to help. They refuse to help because they are not willing to help. God loves us so dearly and he has the capacity to help us in all our afflictions. Trying times are times to focus on the love of God and be reassured that He is at work in our situations and circumstances.
God is working behind the scenes to fix your problems even though you cannot see it. He works from the invisible to the visible.
AND WHAT IF I AM NOT A CHILD OF GOD?
No doubt my admonition is tailored to those who have a relationship with God. If you don’t have one, God does not love you lesser. He so loved the world He gave His only Son to take our place and receive the judgement due for our sins so we can take His place as children of God. Simply accept His love and declare ‘Jesus Christ is Lord. I believe He died and rose from the dead. I accept Him as my Lord and Saviour’. Hallelujah, you are a child of God.
It is not time to die! You still have your life ahead of you and God will turn your situations around for your good. Say this scripture out Loud:
“I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.” Psalms 118:17 NKJV