Following is an English transcript of the message from yesterday.
This morning I was planning to share another message, but circumstances of the last few days have caused me to change my mind.
Last weekend, I talked with a brother from the States. He asked how things were going here, and I told him we were praising the Lord that things have been going very smoothly lately. We had not had any losses, we were all healthy, we have my sister here to help us, we were blessed with visitors, we are studying the Bible with friends. We felt encouraged and strengthened. God was so good to us.
As soon as I told the brother that, I felt a sharp fear hit my heart. Would we now face difficult times as a test of our faith? But I realized almost immediately that I had nothing to fear. God is a good and loving Father to us. He has proven more times than I can count that He faithfully loves us, despite our own failings.
But then the realization came that the devil might take the opportunity to attack us. The enemy is not happy when we are having victory. He will do what he can to discourage us and bring us to ruin. But immediately the peace of God filled my heart because I remembered that the One who lives within me is greater than the one who seeks to destroy me.
I did not know what might come, but I knew confidently that I was safe in God.
But then I made a mistake. I became complacent. I settled back and had an easy few days. I did not study the Bible diligently. I did not pray regularly and fervently. I was lulled to sleep in my spirit.
You see, the direct attacks of the devil are difficult to endure, but they are easy to fight. Why? Because we can see them. We know what’s happening, so we are aware that we need to run to the Lord for help. But the quiet attacks of the devil are the most dangerous.
He had tried in that moment to cause me to fall through fear, but I ran to the promises of God and found safety. So what did the enemy do? He played to my own nature, to my desires for ease and security. He clouded my mind with distractions and diversions, cutting me off from the source of my strength. If we do not stay connected to the Lord, we will quickly lose spiritual power. If we are disconnected long enough, we can die.
As the week passed, I felt myself getting more irritated with my family. That should have been a sign, but I didn’t heed it. Whenever I am more easily frustrated, that is an indication that I am distant from the Lord. I continued to feed my selfishness and was not diligent in my work or in my adoration.
One of our turkeys died, then one of our cuys died. That was a frustration. Then another cuy died and a chicken and a third cuy. They did not seem to be sick. They just died. By this point, I was feeling saddened. We decided to go to market on Friday to replace the animals that had died.
We made it to market and were looking at the cuys and turkeys. All of a sudden, a man crashed into me, nearly knocking me over. I stumbled toward a post. Turning back, I apologized for being in the way of the man, but he ran off the other direction. Moments later, I checked my backpack to get out my wallet, but it was gone. All the zippers were open, and my money was taken.
I know it was unwise for me to have the wallet in my backpack. I usually have it in my front pants pocket. This time, no. We looked and looked, but we never found the wallet. My friend who works with me on the farm came and helped me. All my documents were lost. My bank cards, my driver’s license, my carnet, and all my money were taken.
Unfortunately, I had taken a large sum of money because I also wanted to look for young bulls to buy for fattening. We wanted to raise them to sell for income. All that money was gone.
Now, I cannot drive because I do not have a license. I cannot travel in the country or do some business without my carnet. I am stuck. This coming week, I will have to begin searching for solutions.
That was Friday. Yesterday on Saturday another strange thing happened. In the evening while we were feeding the animals, our large pig began running around in circles. She was acting crazy. Then she fell over and died. I do not know what happened. She wasn’t sick. Maybe she ate a piece of metal. I do not know. Thankfully, her seven piglets are about five weeks old, so they should not die without her.
I went to talk with my friend who works with me. I have never butchered a pig, so I did not know what to do. My friend and his family offered to come help. We worked until midnight to get the pig butchered. It was very tiring, but I felt so blessed to have friends to help us. I don’t see how I could have done it alone.
Now we have a pig to sell. We cannot use all the meat ourselves. But it is Sunday, and there is toque de queda. We may have to wait until tomorrow. And perhaps then no one will want to buy the pig. Will all our work be in vain?
This morning while we fed the animals, we found our last turkey dead. Then we found our one little goat was very ill. She had been tangled in the electric fence and the shock made her too weak to walk. I worked with the goat for an hour, trying to get her well again. She is still alive at this moment, but I fear she will soon die.
That gives us three days of large losses. One thing after another has gone wrong. We are sad, and it hurts to not have the money to cover our costs. Will tomorrow bring us the fourth day of loss?
I think back to last weekend when I told the brother from the States that God is good. Do I still believe it? Has God changed at all? Will I now be discouraged and defeated because of the difficult times?
I remember the story of Job. He lost everything he had in the space of one day. He lost all of his animals, all of his servants, and even all ten of his children. I have lost nothing by comparison. But what was Job’s response?
Read Job 1.
We read here that Job’s loss came from the devil. Job was completely faithful to God, and God was completely pleased with Job. Yet God allowed these hard things to pass. Why? We must read the whole Book of Job to get a clear picture, but we learn that God wanted to prove Job’s integrity and to reveal God’s glory.
More trouble came to Job after this. He was covered in sores from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet, yet he never lost his faith in God. Job was an example to us of total trust in God. At the end of that time, God lifted Job up. He restored Job and provided all he needed. We see God’s love and sovereignty in that.
When troubles come to us, is our connection to God so strong that we too can say, “God gives, and God takes away. Yet blessed is the Lord. I will still serve and love Him.”?
Scripture is filled with promises from God to His people. In this world we will have many troubles, but we can know we are safe if we are living in God. I want to read a few of these promises. They were given to God’s children. If we are one of His, we can claim these promises.
“Have you never heard? Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT
“But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you.
“Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will gather you and your children from east and west. I will say to the north and south, ‘Bring my sons and daughters back to Israel from the distant corners of the earth. Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.’”
Isaiah 43:1-7 NLT
“I pray to you, O Lord, my rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you are silent, I might as well give up and die. Listen to my prayer for mercy as I cry out to you for help, as I lift my hands toward your holy sanctuary.
Do not drag me away with the wicked— with those who do evil— those who speak friendly words to their neighbors while planning evil in their hearts.
Give them the punishment they so richly deserve! Measure it out in proportion to their wickedness. Pay them back for all their evil deeds! Give them a taste of what they have done to others. They care nothing for what the Lord has done or for what his hands have made. So he will tear them down, and they will never be rebuilt!
The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
The Lord gives his people strength. He is a safe fortress for his anointed king. Save your people! Bless Israel, your special possession. Lead them like a shepherd, and carry them in your arms forever.”
Psalms 28:1-5, 7-9 NLT
“The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth.
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken!
Calamity will surely destroy the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished. But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.”
Psalms 34:15-22 NLT
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”
Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
John 14:27 NLT
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NLT
“These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age. If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
1 Corinthians 10:11-13 NLT
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!
Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4:4-9 NLT
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
Romans 8:26-28 NLT
“But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”
1 John 4:4 NLT
It was hard to know where to start and stop with verses of encouragement. The Bible is so full of hope and peace for God’s children. We are not in heaven yet. We have some time yet to deal with difficulties and disappointments. But we know that God will always care for us.
Romans 8 says that all things work out for good for those who love the Lord and are living according to His purposes. That is only one place where we see that we cannot claim the promises without also fulfilling our responsibility.
I’m confident there are more difficulties ahead. So, what must I do? I must draw closer to God. I must stay connected to Him in prayer and in His Word. I must put to death my nature, my desires, my selfishness and put on the mind of Christ. Then I can walk forward with confidence and joy with peace that passes the understanding of this world.
With Job and so many countless others who have learned the truth, I can say, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him.”