Sustainment :: By John Lysaught

We all get down at times. It can be from a trial or tribulation of any sort. We feel abandoned by God. We feel left behind by Him. We feel ignored. These feelings we have can make us feel desperate for recognition from God but we don’t feel it. We feel like we are sinking in our dismal situations and we are drowning in our misery. Yet, God is there. He is always there; and whether we realize it or not, He is sustaining us.

Psalm 34:17-18, says, “The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”

God does not neglect us. He is there for us even when we don’t feel like He is. We cry out to Him but we only hear silence. We want Him to deliver us, but we are still in pain from troubles. Psalm 34:17-18 tells us that He hears our cries. He is close to us in our pain, and He will deliver us from all our troubles. It doesn’t say He is far or that He ignores us in our situations. He sustains us. He holds us close to Himself, even when we can’t sense or believe this.

Believing the Lord is close to us when we face hardships is important to remember. We all face troubles, sometimes for a long time. When this happens, we are tempted to lose our faith in God’s power to heal and to give us strength. He tells us to trust Him and His ways, as Psalm 91:1-3 states, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.”

We can trust that the Lord is on our side. He is our refuge in times of dismay. We can trust that He will deliver us, even when it is not on our timeline or in an outcome that we desire. He is our cover in the storm, even if we can’t see it. He is trustworthy, even when we doubt His ways.

Facing a hardship? We all do. Sometimes every day and sometimes not, but we will face them. When we face our hardships, this is when He tests our resolve to trust Him and His ways. Not our ways or the ways of the world, but His way. We need to remember that we live in the shadow of the Great I AM. He will not forsake us, even when we feel He does.

You ever have relationship problems? Even have financial burdens? I think we all do at regular intervals in life. Maybe it is a lost job, a death in the family, or maybe a wayward child or spouse. Regardless of when we face these troubles, we cry out for help; and when we don’t get an immediate response, we turn to others (the world) to fix our problems.

What it takes is patience in the Lord. Be patient with His resolve to help solve our issues or faced hardships. I find that when I face some trial or tribulations, this is when I discover where my true faith is – in God or the world. Who do I turn to first? Prayer? A self-help book? Secular advice? I’ve done them all depending on the situation.

Yes, it is easy to turn to God for the little problems we face because the outcome really has no substantial consequence. Yet, when we face a mountain in our lives, this is when we hesitate to rely on God for deliverance. We try and try any other means of resolution and only turn to God as the last resort when, in fact, we should have run to Him first.

It takes discipline to do this. Discipline to trust in the Lord and His ways, not ours or the world’s. It takes discipline to hold fast to God and to know He always has our best interests in mind, even when we think we know our own self-interests.

God is all-knowing. He knows the beginning to the end and shapes us in both the good and bad times to His will, not our will. We fight this, though. We fight God’s ability to sustain us because we believe we can sustain ourselves. This happens until we hit the perpetual wall of trials; and then, and only then do we turn to God.

It comes down to control. We have a hard time letting ourselves go to let God guide and direct us. Sure, we may say we trust Him, but do we? Do we trust Him when we lose a job or have no food on the table?  Probably not. We try to resolve the situations ourselves. We fight Him to try to do it our way instead of trusting Him to sustain us and provide for us.

Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” God will provide all our needs. Not some of them, not here or there, but will provide all of them.  He does not neglect. God does not leave His children unprotected, even when we believe that is exactly what He is doing.

You see, God is the Almighty, not the sometimes God. He is sure and true to His word; and if the Word says He will provide, then we can trust that He will. In trials and tribulations, we can rest well knowing that He is with us and His promises are true. We don’t need to stress or have anxiety about life’s problems, nor do we need to stay up all night in worry. He sustains us.

When we find ourselves restless at night, and sleep evades us because we are stressing out about something, we would do well to remember Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Things work out for His purpose, not ours. Maybe you lost your job. Maybe He has something better for you. We may not understand God’s purpose for us, but we can trust that God will work it out to the betterment of His glory, not ours.

Now, this is for those that love God. Unbelievers don’t get it. Sure, the world may help them out, but it is worldly resolutions, not godly solutions. Their relief is temporary while God’s is permanent. We all have a choice in this; and for those who choose the Lord Almighty, well, His guarantee is to sustain us, regardless of the situation.

Whatever the situation is, we need to trust. I said it above, but I’ll say it again: people find this hard to do when the trial seems too big or its duration seems so long. When I find myself thinking of this, I think of Joseph and what life He lived until God’s purpose for Him was fulfilled.

God was with Joseph the entire time. He did not abandon him but used the situation Joseph was in, as bad as it was being a slave and falsely imprisoned, for His purpose. Joseph had to endure for a long time before he was delivered. We too may have to wait quite some time before God delivers us. We may not understand why our suffering may be prolonged or why things happened to us; but God has a purpose for those events, and we just need to trust Him and be patient with Him.

Notice that when we face a problem – especially the long and drawn out ones – after it is over, we can look back and see God’s hand in every moment? I do, and I’m sure you do too. We can see how God sustained us through it all and how He helped us to the other side. This happens only when we trust God and hold tight to His promise that He won’t leave us to dangle out there.

When we allow God to sustain us, we can let go of our troubles. If we trust in Him, fully, not partially, then we will come out stronger in our relationship with Him, and our trust in Him will only grow stronger. God sustains those whom He calls His children, and we as believers are His children and must know and remember that.