Most Christians know what the Bible says about God’s great love for his children, yet many have never learned to appropriate that love, even after years of faithfully walking with Jesus. There are dedicated servants of God who have never enjoyed the glorious experience and benefits of knowing the Father’s love — and nothing saddens God’s heart more.
God described himself to Moses in this way: “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7).
God wanted Moses to know that he was merciful, gracious, longsuffering and forgiving. We have been taught much about these; indeed, from cover to cover the Bible speaks of the Father’s loving and tender heart toward us. But when we are mired in the midst of trials and tribulations, we often forget what God has said about himself.
Scripture says of the Lord again and again that he is ready to forgive at all times (Psalm 86:5); patient with us, full of tenderness and mercy (Psalm 145:9, Psalm 119:156); slow to anger and wrath (Joel 2:13).
The Lord wants us to approach him fully convinced that he loves us. And he wants us to know he is all he says he is. For this reason, Satan will try to make us believe a lie about our Father. If you have been adopted into God’s family through Christ, you must know how special you are to him. You are the recipient of the Father’s special love for his children.
“You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light … [you] are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10).
No one can number all of Christ’s tender mercies and the manifold blessings of his shed blood. But let’s focus on one victory in particular: the forgiveness of all past sins.
“If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin … If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7, 9).
It is imperative that every follower of Jesus lay hold of this glorious truth. Appropriating it has everything to do with whether we will maintain a victorious faith in the midst of dire afflictions. Indeed, in days of uncertainty, this matter of resting in Christ’s forgiveness is crucial.
Many who have served Jesus faithfully over the years have grown confident that their faith can withstand any fiery furnace. Like the disciples, they testify, “Now I see, Lord. Now I believe.” They thank God that Christ has opened their eyes to his eternal purposes.
Then suddenly they are faced with an overwhelming, tremendous crisis. They realize they have entered a furnace seven times hotter than any they have ever known. They have come face to face with a battle so painful, a struggle so draining, that their house begins to shake. And soon it is being swamped with burdens and fears.
Hear the words of the apostle Paul: “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that we previously committed” (Romans 3:24-25).
Through faith in Christ’s shed blood, all past sins are covered! We are cleared in the eyes of God by his unmerited forgiveness. All guilt, fear and condemnation are lifted and all past charges are wiped away. Hallelujah!
Amazingly, God made provision for this reconciliation while you were still in sin. According to Paul, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Finally, Paul tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).
The Israelites groaned under the burden of slavery and their cries for help rose to their Father in heaven. God’s response to them should build our faith and increase our confidence in him: “God heard their groaning, and he remembered” (Exodus 2:24). The word “remembered” here means God was about to bring the reality of his promises to the forefront of their lives and his desires for them were going to become manifest. “He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act” (2:25). Even though Israel was in bondage, God’s promised realities were within their reach.
The promises God has given us through Jesus — freedom from bondage and slavery to sin — are beyond anything we could think or imagine. He has placed us beside himself in heavenly places and given us our identity in him. If these incredible promises don’t build up our confidence, there is something wrong with our view of God. We are not seeing his glory as fully and clearly as we should.
No complex theology is required in order for God to respond to you. All it takes is your heart’s simple cry, “Lord, I’m calling on you for help because your Word promises that you will deliver me from my enemies and give me salvation and overcoming victory in Christ.”
Jesus’ first promise to us is abundant life: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). This means life overflowing, streams of living water spilling over the riverbank of our soul. His second promise is dominion over sin, Satan and death. These no longer reign over us because Jesus does! “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace” (Romans 6:14). He has put the very power of his Spirit in our hearts, giving us victory over sin and filling us with joyful strength.
The work of the Holy Spirit enables us to say, “He has made me holy, blameless and faultless before him. I am inseparable from his love; therefore, I am more than a conqueror against any weapon Satan tries against me.”
George Müller (1805-1898) was an evangelist and the director of an orphanage in England. He was a man of great faith and when asked how he could accomplish so much with so few resources, he replied, “Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.”
Our society is obsessed with instant gratification. We do not want to wait for anything, and many Americans find themselves in debt because they think they need the latest car, house, gadget — right now! This has created a generation that is immature, rebellious and feeling entitled to just about everything — without working hard to gain what they need or want. But instant gratification is not in God’s dictionary because it does not produce faith and trust in him. In fact, it doesn’t produce anything of spiritual worth, nor does it produce godly character.
The prophet Isaiah said, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8). He will answer our prayers, but in his perfect timing and in his perfect way. Waiting is not easy but God tells us to be persistent in our prayers, believing that he will indeed answer at just the right time.
Maybe you are tired of waiting for God to answer your prayers and beginning to lose heart. Jesus tells a parable about a widow who repeatedly came to a judge looking for justice from those who had come against her. Finally, the judge said, “Because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me” (Luke 18:5). Then Jesus said, “Just as this ungodly human judge granted the request of a persistent widow, how much more will God answer you (and fight for you) if you call out to him” (see 18:7).
God does not ignore our pleas. His character is love, so in all ways he does what is in our best interest even though we might not see the answer right away with our natural eye. God has decreed that your prayer will be answered, so trust in his Word while you pray in faith!
Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001. In May of 2020 he transitioned into a continuing role as General Overseer of Times Square Church, Inc.
Of all 150 Psalms, Psalm 34 is my absolute favorite. It is all about our Lord’s faithfulness to deliver his children from great trials and crises. David declares, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears…The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them…The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles… Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:4,7,17,19).
Note David’s claim in this Psalm: “I sought the Lord…this poor man cried….” (34:4, 6). When did David do this crying out? It had to have happened when he was feigning madness in Gath and yet he couldn’t have prayed audibly in the Philistines’ presence. This brings us to a great truth regarding God’s deliverance. Sometimes the loudest cry is made without an audible voice.
I know what this kind of “inner crying out” is like. Many of the loudest prayers of my life—my most important, heart-wrenching, deepest cries—have been made in total silence.
At times I’ve been so benumbed by circumstances that I couldn’t speak, overwhelmed by situations so beyond me that I couldn’t think clearly enough to pray. On occasion, I’ve sat alone in my study so baffled that I was unable to say anything to the Lord at all, but the whole time my heart was crying out: “God, help me! I don’t know how to pray just now, so hear the cry of my heart. Deliver me from this situation.”
Have you ever been there? Have you ever thought, “I don’t know what this is all about. I’m so overwhelmed by my circumstance, so flooded by deep pain, I can’t explain it. Lord, I don’t even know what to say to you. What is going on?”
I believe this is exactly what David went through when he was captured by the Philistines. When he wrote Psalm 34, he was making an admission: “I was in a situation so overwhelming that I played the part of a fool. Yet, inside I wondered, ‘What is going on with me? How has this happened? Lord, help!’”
And so it seems David was saying, “This poor man cried out from within, not knowing what or how to pray. And the Lord heard me and delivered me.” It was a deep cry from the heart, and the Lord is faithful to hear every whimper, no matter how faint.