This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled, Bound to Be Free compiled by Jan Pit. In the following short quotation from the heart of Antonio Garrido (from Cuba. A pseudonym having been to protect Antonio's identity, the writer shares genuine experiences and insights from his life with the Lord); in these insights there is fodder for reflection and perhaps application:
The events that took place in the revival in my country are an evident act of God's power.
For thirty years the government had taught that there is no God. The Christian faith was ridiculed. But just when the battle seemed to be won by the government, God sent a great revival.
People were so disappointed in Communism that they came to the very churches which the government tried to destroy.
Thousands and thousands of people would gather together in and outside the church to hear the Gospel. They would bring the sick, and God performed miracles, again and again. Even atheists came to listen and many of them acknowledged that God is alive and at work. We never need to be dismayed. God is still in control. Despite all persecution and false propaganda, the church grew.
A moment of introspection: First, let us understand what Isaiah was saying in chapter 41. The Nexus dictionary defines dismay as "the feeling of despair in the face of obstacles; or, fear resulting from the awareness of danger". Today, wherever we live, God is telling us through Isaiah: do not let an awareness of danger or appearance of obstacles to living out our beliefs in the eternal triune God affect us.
In God's Word, we have learned that the coming days will hold impediments and stumbling blocks in the way of true believers. We have read in the Holy Bible that we are to be alert (even as the apostle Paul exhorted the church in Ephesus [Acts 20:31; Ephesians 6:18]), and watchful (Matthew 25:13), anticipating the progression toward Jesus' Second Advent. In watching, we may well discern danger and perilous days ahead as we assiduously seek to understand the times in which we live. Are we to fear, to tremble with dread as individuals and peoples and nations turn their backs increasingly on God and His only Son? Are we to withdraw from living as Christ would have us, in seeing the world slowly expanding its marginalization of followers of Christ and believers in Jehovah? No. We are not to become fearful as we realize the growing dangers for Christians in an increasingly darkening world. Why?
Because God has given us His assurance: "...for I am with you." In God's presence is peace that defies worldly comprehension (Philippians 4:7); ergo, we are not to exude fear, to be frozen in fright, to be anxious, to be apprehensive, or to be nervous. Rather, we are to be bold for God (Proverbs 28:1; Philippians 1:4) in whatever work He has given us and, in our weakness--strong in His power (2 Corinthians 12:10; Ephesians 6:10).
Through the prophet, God goes on to say, not only to have no fear, but also "do not be dismayed". Do we feel a sense of despair when we face obstacles to our Christian faith? Do we resignedly feel that everything will turn out badly for the Church and for us as believers in Christ and in God? Do not be dismayed. In these and other situations, we learn that worldly obstacles need not frighten or stymie us or cause us to despair; spiritual hindrances likewise should not cause us to quake with alarm. We are not to be dismayed.
As with Isaiah's first directive, the second question must be answered--why should we not be dismayed?
"Because I am your God." There... God answered our second question. Immanuel is with us; Senor Garrido speaks of God's power; he avers that we can trust in God, and Isaiah agrees. God's promise to us? "I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Amen, to God's people in these days, in this time. Let us resoundingly praise God through our trust in Him, and continue serving Him boldly and purposefully.