I recently stumbled on an interesting website which contains a collection of writings by a Scottish minister by the name of Oswald Chambers (1874-1917), who wrote the commentary below link here.
The reason this commentary struck me was simple. As clearly stated by the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy, we are truly living in "terrible times", and there are a lot of ominous, scary developments in the world. Much of what we watch, in terms of signs pointing to the last days, could easily evoke a spirit of fear in the believer. The vast majority of Christians that I speak with, regarding end times events, have moments of questioning "How much will we endure prior to the rapture?".
I have the same questions. Will we endure a financial collapse, similar to the great depression? Will I lose my job during such financial collapse? Will we see a higher degree of persecution? Will we ever see martial law instituted in the U.S. ? Will terrorism strike again? Will nuclear weapons be used by terrorists? If Israel strikes Iran, will gas/oil be significantly restricted as a result a blockade in the Strait of Hormuz? How will this affect our lives? And on and on it goes.
In this context, Mr Oswald's commentary from a previous century is right on the mark:
THE OVERSHADOWING PERSONAL DELIVERANCE
"I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord." Jeremiah 1:8
God promised Jeremiah that He would deliver him personally - "Thy life will I give unto thee for a prey." That is all God promises His children. Wherever God sends us, He will guard our lives. Our personal property and possessions are a matter of indifference, we have to sit loosely to all those things; if we do not, there will be panic and heartbreak and distress. That is the inwardness of the overshadowing of personal deliverance.
The Sermon on the Mount indicates that when we are on Jesus Christ's errands, there is no time to stand up for ourselves. Jesus says, in effect, Do not be bothered with whether you are being justly dealt with or not. To look for justice is a sign of deflection from devotion to Him. Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it. If we look for justice, we will begin to grouse and to indulge in the discontent of self-pity - Why should I be treated like this? If we are devoted to Jesus Christ we have nothing to do with what we meet, whether it is just or unjust. Jesus says - Go steadily on with what I have told you to do and I will guard your life. If you try to guard it yourself, you remove yourself from My deliverance. The most devout among us become atheistic in this connection; we do not believe God, we enthrone common sense and tack the name of God on to it. We do lean to our own understanding, instead of trusting God with all our hearts."
Three sentences above really struck me:
"If we are devoted to Jesus Christ we have nothing to do with what we meet, whether it is just or unjust. Jesus says - Go steadily on with what I have told you to do and I WILL GUARD YOUR LIFE. If you try to guard it yourself, you remove yourself from My deliverance."
He isn't talking about salvation here, as that cannot be lost - he is talking about His deliverance from fear, injustice, persecution, etc. Jesus will guard our lives - all we must do is focus on Him - our walk with Jesus, our devotion to Jesus, our Love for Jesus, and what we can do in these last remaining days to serve Jesus. He will take care of our lives - or, as stated by Mr Chambers, He will "guard" our lives. Focusing on our problems, our fears, our concerns can only serve to remove us from the sense of Jesus watching over our lives.
The passage found in Matthew 14: 24-30 - that passage in which Jesus called to Peter
"But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary.
And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear.
But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."
Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."
And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"
What just happened here? Peter was doing just fine as he began to walk on water. Peter wasn't just walking on water (by himself) - he was experiencing a miracle as performed by Jesus - as directed by Jesus. But it only worked while Peter was giving Jesus 100% of his focus and attention. As soon as Peter began "seeing the wind" he failed and began to sink. In other words, once he stopped focusing on Jesus and began to focus on his fears, he lost the "protection" given by Jesus and began to sink.
It is the same in our lives today, It is very easy to see the condition in the world today and as a result, begin to allow the fears to creep in. But we are directed to focus solely on Jesus and His love and protection over our lives.
As Jesus gave parting words to His disciples just before His arrest, knowing the fears that they would be facing in the near future He reminded them:
"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:26-27)
We are called to focus on Jesus. He'll take care of the rest.
Maranatha! He is coming soon!