The Bible says that the devil goes out to deceive the whole world. To do this he uses a three-pronged approach. First he attempts to deceive through miracles, false teachings and false doctrine. If that does not work he uses his seductive power, at which he is very successful. Multitudes of people know the truth, but they are seduced by the various forms of sin and held in bondage to them.
If you cannot be deceived or seduced, he still has a powerful weapon to use against you. He will use fear tactics that include threatened death, imprisonment or torture to get you to forsake the Lord. God is going to have a fearless people who cannot be deceived, because they know God will fulfill His promises. God says 366 times in the Bible, “Do not be afraid”—a promise for each day of the year, including the leap year.
God has every experience covered, and you can never be put in a position in which God is not aware and able to help you. Those who know these things will not fear the devil.
“And of Asher he said, ‘Asher is most blessed of sons; let him be favored by his brothers, and let him dip his foot in oil. Your sandals shall be iron and bronze; as your days, so shall your strength be.’ ” Deuteronomy 33:24, 25. Remember, the more trouble you find yourself in, the more grace and help is available—“as your days, so will your strength be.” “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to help you, and in His excellency on the clouds. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, and will say, ‘Destroy!’ ” Verses 26 and 27.
“But the Lord shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment. He shall judge the world in righteousness, and He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness. The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” Psalm 9:7–10. God is a refuge and help in trouble and does not forsake those that seek Him.
Psalm 46 is a prophecy of the experience of those who live at the very end of the time of trouble. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (verse 1). It goes on to say that God is going to be with them and help them (verses 5 and 7).
Psalm 91, also a prophecy of the final time of trouble, says in verses 1 and 2, “He who dwells 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 I will trust.’ ”
“You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; for the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.” Isaiah 25:4. That also applies to the time of trouble coming upon the world at the end.
“Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule with justice. A man will be as a hiding place from the wind, and a cover from the tempest, as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Isaiah 32:1, 2.
Isaiah 26:20, 21 is a prophecy about the experience of God’s people right at the beginning of the time of trouble. It says, “Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past. For behold, the Lord comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain.”
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. … For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’ ” Isaiah 41:10, 13.
Ellen White tells us that the three Hebrew worthies who were thrown into the fiery furnace remembered the promise, in Isaiah 43:1, 2, and it was fulfilled to them. “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.’ ”
When Jesus sent out His disciples to minister, He said: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:28–31.
God knows everything about you, even the number of hairs on your head. He notices your every experience and says you have no need to be afraid. Jesus told His disciples, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Matthew 28:18. He also said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Verse 20. Paul said, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” I Corinthians 10:12, 13. This verse is so interesting that I have personally checked it in the Greek New Testament to be sure it was translated accurately without taking any liberties.
Only those who have been in severe temptations, trials, troubles, suffering, and pain can totally understand this wonderful promise. We should all have that one memorized.
“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” II Corinthians 12:7–10.
If you understood the full thrust of this promise, nobody could ever make you upset or dissatisfied or unhappy again no matter what happens, for God has grace that is sufficient for you. This is an instance where Paul prayed for something and the Lord chose not to give him what he had asked for three times, but He said, “I will give you grace, and I’ll give you enough.” His grace is sufficient. Now the word sufficient means you have enough and you are not lacking. Psalm 23:1 says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not lack [want KJV].” God’s grace is limitless!
In Hebrews 13:5, 6, Paul actually quotes from Psalm 118. “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’ ”
Perhaps we underestimate how strong a helper we really do have. Paul said to the Athenians, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28.
There are many recorded incidences of people, being tortured for their faith, who feel no pain when they cry out to the Lord. God knows every feeling, every pain, every suffering that we go through and when we pray to Him, He hears. The Bible says His name “is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10. God’s promises defray all attempts of Satan to terrify, so take the time to store them in your memory so they are always available.
“No soul will be left to perish who asks in faith for the help of Christ. The weakest, the most struggling soul, may live, and find hope and sufficiency in God. When Jesus comes into the storm and the darkness, midnight is as bright as noonday.” The Signs of the Times, May 28, 1896. When the disciples were out in the storm and afraid they would die, Jesus came walking out to them and said, “Don’t be afraid; I’m here.”
He has promised also to be with you, and you can claim it at any time or in any place and it will be fulfilled. He said, “Don’t be afraid, I am with you; I will help you.”
Ellen White describes the help God will give His people in the future. She says, “History will be repeated [referring to the three Hebrew worthies]. False religion will be exalted. The first day of the week, a common working day, possessing no sanctity whatever, will be set up as was the image at Babylon. All nations and tongues and peoples will be commanded to worship this spurious sabbath. This is Satan’s plan to make of no account the day instituted by God, and given to the world as a memorial of creation.
“The decree enforcing the worship of this day is to go forth to all the world. In a limited degree, it has already gone forth. In several places the civil power is speaking with the voice of a dragon, just as the heathen king spoke to the Hebrew captives.
“Trial and persecution will come to all who, in obedience to the word of God, refuse to worship this false sabbath. Force is the last resort of every false religion. At first it tries attraction, as the king of Babylon tried the power of music and outward show. If these attractions, invented by men inspired by Satan, failed to make men worship the image, the hungry flames of the furnace were ready to consume them. So it will be now. The Papacy has exercised her power to compel men to obey her, and she will continue to do so. We need the same spirit that was manifested by God’s servants in the conflict with paganism. Giving an account of the treatment of the Christians by the emperor of Rome, Tertullian [who lived about the close of the second century] says, ‘We are thrown to the wild beasts to make us recant; we are burned in the flames; we are condemned to prisons and to mines; we are banished to islands—such as Patmos—and all have failed.’ So it was in the case of the three Hebrew worthies; their eye was single to the glory of God; their souls were steadfast; the power of the truth held them firmly to their allegiance to God. It is in the power of God alone that we shall be enabled to be loyal to Him.
“ ‘If ye love Me,’ said Christ, ‘keep My commandments’ (John 14:15). ‘He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him’ (John 14:21). And has not Christ manifested Himself to his faithful children? Did He not walk in the furnace with the captives who refused to yield to the golden image one tittle of the reverence which belonged to God? Did He not manifest Himself to John, banished to the Isle of Patmos for his faithfulness? Have not those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, who, tho they have been compelled to suffer, have refused to worship the institution of the Papacy, realized the presence of the divine Comforter in their lonely prisons?” The Signs of the Times, May 6, 1897.
A pastor was thrown into a communist prison and told that he would rot down there. In the complete darkness he had no perspective, nothing by which to gauge time, so he did not know whether it was night or day. He was given food, but in the dark it was impossible to know if he had been in there for an hour, a day, a week, a month or even a year. In a situation like this you become completely disoriented and can go crazy. He was afraid that he would lose his sanity. So, in his desperation he began to pray and cry out to the Lord to keep him sane. He reports it this way: “As I was praying, I saw a light. It was perfectly dark down there. The light came close and I saw that it was a person, a bright shining person who came right up to me and picked me up and just held me for a while, and then everything was all right.” It is impossible for man to put you in a place where God can’t hear your cry for help and find you. Eventually, the guard was changed, and he was taken out after 35 days in total darkness, but throughout that trying time God comforted him.
“The commandments of finite, sinful men are to sink into insignificance beside the word of the eternal God. Truth is to be obeyed at any cost, even tho gaping prisons, chain-gangs, and banishment stare us in the face. If you are loyal and true, that God who walked with the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, who protected Daniel in the lions’ den, Who manifested Himself to John on the lonely island, will go with you wherever you go. His abiding presence will comfort and sustain you; and you will realize the fulfillment of the promise, ‘If a man love Me, he will keep My words; and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him’ (John 14:23).” Ibid.
“Our victory as believers is obtained through the grace of Christ, which He can and will bestow upon all who will put their trust in Him. This is the good news with which Christ would have us comforted. In all the tribulation which the child of God must receive, whatever his position in the world, he may be of good cheer in contemplation of the truth that Christ has overcome the world.
“It is a great thing to be right with God, the soul in harmony with its Maker. Amid the contagion of evil example, which by its deceitful appearance would lure the soul from duty, angels will be sent to our rescue. But if we invite temptation, we can not have divine aid to keep us from being overcome. The three worthies endured the fiery furnace, for Jesus walked with them amid the flames. If they had, of themselves, walked into the fire, they would have been consumed. Thus it will be with us. If we do not deliberately go into temptation, God will sustain us when the temptation comes.
“But let no one think that an entirely new set of energies are to be communicated when we are brought into trying circumstances. We are to seek daily for the converting power of God. We should daily seek to recover in ourselves the moral image of God. Every affection, every attribute that has been perverted, must be restored by the grace of Christ. Lesser trials nobly borne under the control of God, will purify, refine, and ennoble us for endurance when the time shall come for greater test and greater trials.
“Then let us look the future decidedly in the face, and say, ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me’ (Philippians 4:13). We must cherish the presence of Christ, for we need Him in the less as well as the greater trials. By a willingness for His sake to endure shame and reproach, by learning the meekness and lowliness of Christ, we shall prove the sincerity of our Christianity. When we are called to imprisonment and shame, when degraded by our fellow-beings, who are inspired by the spirit of Satan, God will give His grace to sustain us. His promise is, ‘… as thy days, so shall thy strength be’ (Deuteronomy 33:25).
“The righteous have ever obtained help from above. How often have the enemies of God combined to destroy the character and influence of a few simple persons who trusted in God! But because the Lord was for them, none could prevail against them. Only let the followers of Christ be united, and they will prevail. Let them be separated from their idols and from the world, and the world will not separate them from God. Christ is our present, all-sufficient Saviour. In Him all fullness dwells. It is the privilege of Christians to know that Christ is in them of a truth. ‘This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith’ (I John 5:4). ‘All things are possible to him that believeth’ (Mark 9:23); and whatsoever things we desire when we pray, if we believe that we receive them, we shall have them. This faith will penetrate the darkest cloud, and bring hope to the drooping, desponding soul. It is the absence of this faith and trust which brings perplexity, distressing fears, and surmisings of evil. God will do great things for His people when they will put their entire trust in Him. Christ will prove a never-failing source of strength, a present help in every time of trouble.” Ibid.
“ ‘In quietness and confidence shall be your strength’ (Isaiah 30:15). This is the lesson given to every soul. The strength of every soul is in God and not in man. Quietness and confidence is to be the strength of all who give their hearts to God. In all our temporal concerns, in all our cares and anxieties, we need to wait upon the Lord. ‘Put not your trust in princes, nor in the sons of men’ (Psalm 146:3 KJV), is the word that comes to us. The Lord has united our hearts with His. If we love Him, and are accepted in His service, we shall bring all our burdens to the Lord, and wait upon Him. Then we shall have an individual experience, a conviction of His presence and His readiness to hear our prayer for wisdom and for instruction, that will give us assurance and confidence in His willingness to succor [to help] in perplexity.
“God would have us rejoice, and praise Him every day for the privilege granted us in the words of Christ: ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light’ (Matthew 11:28–30). A kind and loving Friend and Father is overruling all things. And if this is true of individuals and nations, how much more of His church, His chosen ones?” The Signs of the Times, October 7, 1897.
Jesus invites all to come to Him as their refuge. Tell Him all of your concerns and what grieves you. Share your heart with Him and trust that He will give you all the answers to work calmly and quietly. He is also interested in how you will pay your bills or how you will get your car fixed when you do not have enough money. What if you lose your job? How will you manage with any health issues? Work as you can for others and the Lord will answer you. (See Isaiah 58.)
“The Elder Brother of our race is by the eternal throne. He looks upon every soul who is turning his face toward Him as his Saviour. He knows by experience what are the weaknesses of humanity, what are their wants, and where lies the strength of their temptations. The weakness of our human nature will not bar our access to the heavenly Father; for Christ was tempted in all points ‘like as we are, yet without sin’ (Matthew 11:25).
“Christ has not a casual interest in us. His love for us is stronger than that of a mother for her child. Says the prophet, ‘Can a woman forget her sucking child? … yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee’ (Isaiah 49:15). Our Saviour has purchased us by human suffering and sorrow. He suffered insult, reproach, abuse, mockery, rejection, and death. God is near in Christ’s atoning sacrifice, in His intercession, His loving, tender, ruling power over His church. Seated by the eternal throne, He watches His children with intense interest. He is watching over you, trembling child of God. He will make you secure under His protection. His promises are: ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusteth in Thee’ (Isaiah 26:3). ‘Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord’ (Psalm 27:14). ‘They that wait on the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which can not be moved, but abideth forever’ (Psalm 125:1).” Ibid.
“The Lord is in active communication with every part of His vast dominions. He is represented as bending toward the earth and its inhabitants. He is listening to every word that is uttered. He hears every groan; He listens to every prayer; He observes the movements of every one; He approves or condemns every action. The hand of Christ draws aside the vail which conceals from our eyes the glory of heaven; and we behold Him in His high and holy place, not in a state of silence and indifference to His subjects in a fallen world, but surrounded by all the heavenly host—ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, all waiting to go at His bidding on errands of mercy and love.
“Christ had such an experience in His humanity that He desires to be close beside every one who passes through suffering for the truth’s sake—those who are tortured, imprisoned in dungeons, and bound in chains. He ministers to all such. He is the friend of all who love and fear Him, and He will punish those who dare to lead them from safe paths, or put them in positions of distress as they conscientiously endeavor to keep the way of the Lord.” The Signs of the Times, November 17, 1898.
Jesus suffered and died to save us. It was only when His disciples saw Him risen from the dead did they understand what He meant when He said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19).
Ellen White said, “Shall our faith ever falter again? What stronger evidence could God have given us that Jesus is the Son of God? What greater evidence could be given of the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ than that which has been given by those who were eyewitnesses of his Majesty? Will those who claim to believe in Christ as a personal Saviour, dishonor God by doubting that He to whose guardianship they have committed their souls will keep that which has been committed to His trust against that day? Jesus is a risen Saviour. He came forth from the grave to vindicate His previous claims, to confirm the faith of His followers, to establish the truth of His Godhead before men, to make doubly sure the assurance that ‘whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ (John 3:16).” The Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895.
If we could just get a hold by faith and understand how strong a helper we have that is in control of everything, Who knows all about us and will never forsake us, our stress would be eliminated. He has intimate knowledge of every molecule in every body and mind, and He wants to help. His love casts out all fear, no matter the threats of the evil agents or the trials that you face.
God has promised to be a refuge, a strength, a fortress, a help, a deliverance for His people. As our days, so our strength will be. “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you.” Deuteronomy 33:27. He will never leave you or forsake you and whatever happens, He will be your strength.
(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)
Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church of Free Seventh-day Adventists in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at: email@example.com, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.