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  • Incredulity of Thomas
Life Is Tough And Then You....

There’s an old saying in my country: Life is tough and then you die, but along life’s path, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. I’m more fond of the version that goes: Life is tough and then you die, but along life’s path, don’t forget to stop and eat the roses. That of course has nothing to do with anything at all.

Have you ever seen a poster called “The final and supreme act of Defiance”

It’s a picture of a very grand and majestic eagle screeching down on it’s prey. You can see it’s eyes blazing and it’s sharp pointed cruel looking talons reaching out to grab this mouse. And the whole picture is framed with this huge and majestic eagle.

And there at the bottom of the poster is a tiny mouse. This mouse is standing there knowing that this is death for him, and the mouse stands there ready for death and he is giving the eagle the finger.

And that in the world’s view is called the supreme act of defiance. And that is applauded my most people, even by us at times. But I want tl talk about why this “supreme act of defiance” may not be a great thing.

Let me tell you a story.

It’s the story of a man with a message. This man was convinced that the message he had was a message that the whole world should hear. So he set out to tell the world his message. The first thing that happened is that his own colleagues started to hate him. Not only did they start to hate him, but they started to plot against him. They started to plan how they could kill him. At one point they attacked him with sticks and stones. And yet he kept telling the people around him of his message. Then one day while traveling to another town, his ship was caught in a storm and wrecked. And yet he still kept telling the world his message. They threatened him, he kept telling his message. They whipped him, he kept telling his message. They jailed him, he kept telling his message.

Everything seemed to go wrong and in the end they unceremoniously executed him.

Life is tough! I know it. I’ve lived it.

In life things will go wrong. The people you love will reject you. Your dreams will be shattered to pieces.

And let me tell you if they haven’t already been shattered at least once. Then hang on because one day they will be.

Everything you consider valuable may be torn to shreds in front of you. Leaving you behind broken, shattered and numb. Leaving you behind scared, defensive and bitter. Leaving you behind hurt, wounded and callous.

Hiding behind the walls of doubt and confusion and sometimes hate. Walls built to defend you. But sometimes these walls defend you against the very thing you need badly.

Life is tough.

Let me tell you the true story of a young kid of about 13. He was a kid who’d grown up in the controlled well mannered environment of British schools. And then one day he was tossed into a unruly, dope infested, uncontrolled American High school environment. You all know what I mean. You’ve all grown up that way. In fact some of you were that way. But it was a shock for this young kid. 13 years old, the youngest kid in high school. Everybody else in his class was at least 15. And you know what, he was a Christian. And you know what, he thought everybody else should be one too. And you know what? They hated him for it. You would not be able to think of a more traumatic time in his life. You could not think of a more insecure time in his life. He was teased, abused, hit, and hated.

Life is tough. What you do with it, is what determines how you end it.

Life is tough, and that 13 year old spent many many days crying himself to sleep. That 13 year old spent many many days wondering how he could end it all. How he could end the pain and the agony of rejection and abuse. And that 13 year old spent many many hours asking God WHY? Why? Why are you putting me through this? What should I do different? Why why why?

Life is tough and that 13 year old started to build defenses, and he started to stop trusting God. Because God was the one who’d caused this to him. Oh, he still went to church, he did all the Christian things. But he had slowly stopped trusting God.

People start into relationships. They fall in love. They plan to get married, they talk about the future. And they have dreams. And then one day the person they are in love with says. I can’t marry you. It’s over. And they leave. But you know what’s worse. What’s worse is that sometimes they don’t leave right away. The relationship stays in limbo for months. One partner starts to hope. And the hope builds again. Then one day the other partner says. I’m dating so and so. And the dream not only is shattered but it kicked and beaten and torn to pieces. And the pain is all that’s left. And the pain is all that’s left. And the person asks why why why? And the person starts rejecting God. Because God was the one who’d allowed this to happen.

Life is tough.

I had a friend whose view of life really was “Life is tough, and then you die.” As you can guess he was a very hard hard person.

Life is tough. I know it’s tough.

Kid’s are born, without a care in the world. Then they get abused, either sexually or physically. They grow up afraid to touch, or be touched, or at the opposite extreme, unhealthily craving attention, even negative attention. They grow up insecure, they get into relationships and they tear their partners to pieces, so now you have two hurting lonely people in the world, stumbling around in the darkness, one against the world. And they go on trying, crying for love hurting other people. Hurting more people, and the tragic endless vicious cycle continues.

Girls grow up in a family where the father leaves, or worse, cheats on their mother. And that becomes their idea of what men are like. And from that develops their concept of a father. And from that develops their concept of God. Because God is just a very big man. And men cannot be trusted. I know a lady who had 5 step fathers, each just as bad as the last, each left her mother. When she finally did get married, her husband left here. She was unable to trust men. You couldn’t get close to her. The very thought of trusting God would cripple her. Because God is a very very big man. And men leave. But you know the sad thing? She never knew what she was doing. She couldn’t put that in words. All she knew was that she hated life.

Life is tough. And half the time we don’t even know what’s wrong with us.

We went to a retreat a while back and the speaker said something very interesting. He said: You have one lonely person. He or she says, I need to get married to stop being lonely. So they get married thinking it’ll solve their problems. But now you have two lonely people living in the same house with the same problems. So they think, maybe if we had our own house, we would be happier. So they buy a house. Now you have two lonely people with the same problems living in a house with a 30 year debt over their heads that they can hardly afford to pay. So they say, maybe if we had children to ease our pain, it would bring us together. And you know what happens. Now we have 2 lonely people trying to live together with a huge debt bringing up a child that needs oh so much attention, and is not getting it and the child ends up being a very lonely person herself. It sort of reminds me of that song that Elvis sang. Called in the ghetto. Another little baby child is born and it’s mother cries.

Life is tough. And death is our final destiny.

Now you might saying, great. I came here happy, today was a good day for me, but now I’m depressed. Thanks a lot Neil, thanks a lot. I didn’t need to be depressed. Life is tough enough.

But you see if that was the end of the story you should leave here depressed. If that was the end of life you ought to leave here depressed. Because then there would be no hope. There would be nothing to live or die for. If death was our only destiny, then there would be nothing to sing or laugh for.

There’s a heavy metal song by a group called Jerusalem. And it starts with a cry about the state of the world. It bemoans the fact that the world is spinning down to destruction. It wails about the fact that today we have Sodom and Gomorra here in the US. The evil we have today in the US would have destroyed Sodom and Gomorra 10 times over. It says Sodom is Europe, Sodom is Sweden, Sodom is Germany, Sodom is our city and nobody cares anymore.

But then it says. But we got Jesus. We got Jesus. The world is spinning down to destruction. I am the witness of disaster, but we got Jesus. We got Jesus.

Do you believe that? Jesus isn’t just a salvation thing. He’s our entire life. We got Jesus. Life is tough. But we have Hope.

Ah but you say, well that’s all OK, because I know I’m saved, I wasn’t questioning whether I was saved. I don’t have trouble with believing that I’m saved.

It’s now that’s the problem. It’s today that is the problem. I just want to know how I’m going to get through this day? Am I going to survive now? That’s the question.

I’ll tell you why we have hope not only for our salvation but also for tomorrow, because 2000 years ago Jesus Christ came to this earth and suffered every single bit like we did and it was God saying to you and me “I Care”. It was God saying, I understand because I suffered through it too.

“I care and I will carry your burdens for you”

Matt. 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Yes, you see, you can get through today. Because God not only has saved us from eternal damnation, but He also strengthens us and gives us peace today.

Is 40:28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

God is a God of Grace and Mercy.

The end of the story is not that two lonely people end up being married and living a tough lonely life. That is not the end of the story. It’s not the end of the story for me, it’s not the end of the story for you. Because if they humble themselves before God. Become gentle and trust him. Then there is hope. And life is worth the living. There’s a song that goes. If love isn’t forever, then what’s forever for. Let me tell you Love on it’s own isn’t forever. But Love in God and from God is forever. And that’s what forever is for. There is Hope. Do you know there is hope?

In the story of the lady who’d had 5 fathers and couldn’t trust men. She told me that it is by the grace of God that she is where she is today. She said “I had to learn that God is not a very big man. God is a Spirit. He is not like a man, He never fails. He never leaves us. He never leaves us. He will never leave me. He will never leave you.

You see there is Hope. Life can be overcome. We can live in joy.

I Sam 15:29 He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.”

God is not a man.

And this lady through the love of her friend, was able to humble herself before God, cry out to Him and trust Him, tearing down the walls that she never knew were there. Walls that she’d built to protect herself, walls that she’d needed to protect herself from all men. And by the grace of God, she was able regardless of anything to count the cost of His love. To abandon herself to His plans, then she knew peace. Then only did she know peace. And then only did she know love.

You see there is hope. Life is tough, but there is hope. Have you not seen, have you not heard?

No, God is not a very big man. He is a spirit and what He says, He will do. And He says that He will never leave us or forsake us.

Hebr. 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

Let me ask you this:

Can you abandon yourself to His plans?

Can you love His law so much that you give up and sacrifice that which you so badly want for yourself?

Can you truly trust God? And not do those things that you know are destructive?

Do you believe that God is Sovereign? That’s easy, isn’t it? It’s easy for some of us to believe that. Because that’s far away and not always a day to day thing.

But now, do you believe that God cares about you? Do you honestly believe that He has His best in store for you?

This is not a rhetorical question. I want you to answer that to yourself right now. Let me ask that again.

Do you believe that God cares about you?

Do you honestly believe that He has His best in store for you?

Do you believe that He will grant you the grace and peace in the tough times? Can you trust God? Do you trust God? Do you really? Or does the thought of it just leave you scared. Such that the pit of your stomach does butterflies, do you get scared at the thought of abandoning yourself to the mercies of God’s plans.

Do you honestly believe that He has His best in store for you? If your answer is yes, then act upon it.

Life is tough but there is Hope.

Life is tough but be encouraged. Jesus has overcome the world. God is in control.

Jer. 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

This was a promise made to the children of Israel. Seek me with all your heart and you will find me. And I will listen to you.

Isa. 43:18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

Remember the story of the man who was whipped and beaten and shipwrecked. Do you know his name? Yes, it was Paul. And after saying all that he tells us.

Phil. 4:11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Paul is saying that I can endure all things through Christ who strengthens me. Life is tough, but there is hope.

And even when they jailed him, he preached his message to his jailers and converted even them.

There is Hope. God does grant us peace. There is hope. Be encouraged.

Yes, pain is not the end of the story. Because Christ Jesus has overcome the world and will bring us peace.

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Ps. 10:17 You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.

God will hear your cry and like He dealt with Joseph, He will pull you out of the pit and use you for His glory.

Life is tough. But there is hope. Be encouraged.

I’ve heard things like: God just doesn’t like me right now. Or, I don’t know why God is making my life miserable right now. The truth of the matter is that God may be working in your life right now, like he is mine. He may be refining you like he is me. What is your response to Him?

Is your response the same as the mouse’s? Remember the mouse in the poster. Some of you were wondering why I gave that example. Well, are you doing what the mouse did. That in your moment of extreme pain and extreme agony. You reject the very person who can heal you. In effect are you portraying the final and supreme act of defiance.

God you did this to me…..

and you grow high defensive walls. Or you fight God blaming him for the pain in your life.

Or is your response to accept the pruning hand of God and grow.

Well you say Neil, that’s all well and good, but that’s head knowledge. My life is a mess right now. Everything is going wrong right now. You just don’t understand.

But I do understand. Do you know that I understand? Remember what was happening in July and August when I took that 1 month break. Well I have news for you. It’s not over. It hasn’t changed. It’s still going on. In fact it’s worse now.

But if people with shattered hopes were the end of the story, you should leave here sad. If people with broken hearts & dreams were the end of the story then you should leave here depressed.

But neither pain, nor shattered dreams, nor a broken heart will stop the Lord Jesus Christ from receiving praise from my lips.

When all that is left is a broken shattered shell of me, kneeling by my bed with tears in my eyes crying out in pain, through the grace of God in that moment will I still praise the Lord God Almighty. And I found out that I do, I do praise Him. There is hope.

And that’s what I desire for you. That’s what I wish for you. I see so many of us, stumbling around. Hardening ourselves to God because of pain. I hunger for that for you. I’m no better than any of you. I’m no holier than any of you.

Is that what you want in your life? If it is then commit with me today. That you will abandon yourself to praising God, to sacrificing praise to him, even in your deepest darkest hour. Will you make that commitment today?

And if you make that commitment with me, then write it down in your Bible.

But wait Neil you say. That’s all well and good to talk about. But when you are in the middle of it, what do you do? How do you handle it? I need specifics

What I am going to do is to give you a list of things to do instead. It is far from complete, and it won’t make life all of a sudden hunky dory, but it is a start. Will you commit yourself to taking great pains to execute it?

Here it is:

a) Try and learn what it is that God is teaching you.

b) Take control of any sin or hint of sin in your life, even if it seems unrelated. Commit yourself to purge it and fight it.

c) Take control of the fears in your life. Commit yourself to overcoming them step by step. That means identifying them and dealing with them. e.g. are you afraid of trusting someone? Find someone who is trustworthy and slowly entrust them with more and more. You may want to make sure that they know what you are doing, depending on your relationship.

d) Take control of your life. Start digging yourself out of the hole. Do you hate your job? Analyze your attitude. It may not be the job that’s wrong. It may be the 4 inches between your ears. If it’s really the job, start looking for a new job. And really try. None of this half hearted stuff.

Hate your social life? Analyze your social skills. Ask for advice from someone who seems socially successful and take it. See what’s going on here? You are seeking advice from successful people and implementing it.

Hate your living situation? Start making changes. Move, act on it. Stop complaining and then never doing anything about it.

e) Be brutally honest with yourself. What is wrong with my attitude to God? What is wrong with my attitude to life? Two weeks from now we will talk about that in great detail.

f) Praise God for the specific situation. Constantly praise God. Buy praise tapes. Play them all the time. Constantly. Your mind should be filled with joy. I’ve been inundating myself with praise tapes. Now when I sing in the shower it invariably ends up being a praise song. Because that is constantly on my mind.

g) If you are down, stop listening to secular songs. They focus only on the fact that you need romantic love. They know nothing about God’s love. Stop watching TV. Start reading good healthy biographies, like Helen Keller’s, read Christian novels. Read good things, stories that lift you up. I will provide a list within the next few weeks if I get enough requests.

h) And most importantly. Stop thinking that the world revolves around you and that everything is going wrong. Know that God has given you the ability to conquer life. He has the ability to give you peace. Be encouraged and stop steeping yourself in self pity.

i) Gather your friends around you. Lean on them heavily. Tell them you are hurting, have them meet your needs. Then as you heal start meeting their needs. This isn’t a one day thing, you need your friends to strengthen you. It’s an everyday thing. Because the world drains you, it sucks you dry. A single shot in the arm on Sunday only is like eating once a week. You need daily bread. You need daily feeding. Surround yourself with hopeful people, people with vision despite discouragement. The world will get you down if you don’t recharge.

j) Stick encouraging verses all over the place. In your car, in your wallet. Make it a point to read them. Actually read them.

k) Take as many breaks as you need to heal. Don’t sit in the rut and let it fester.

l) Try to never cry alone if you can help it, unless you are crying in the joy of God’s glory. I’ve found that when you cry alone about yourself, it’s heartbreaking, heartrending and leaves you feeling very very sad. But when you cry with a trusted friend who’ll be around for you, it cleanses you and gives you strength.

m) Meet new people, I cannot think of anything better to boost your morale than to make new strong friends.

n) Memorize verses, this is very very important. What you are going through is also a spiritual battle. The best weapon is the Word of Truth. The best armor is the armor of righteousness. Learn a new verse every two days. A verse that is applicable to your situation. Every time you start to feel down say it out loud and then say all the verses from the days before. Embed these in your memory. One of the best ways to memorize a verse is to write it out about 20 times while saying it out loud. By memorizing verses you can protect yourself. Rebuke the evil one.

o) Expand your horizons, do new things. E.g. if you’ve never been scuba diving. Take it up as a hobby. Take an area of your life or personality and improve it. E.g. learn public speaking, or acting.

p) Pray long, pray often. Don’t pray for what you want. Pray for peace and that you will align yourself to God’s good plan. Tonight pray about being able to pray. Ask God to help you pray for 5 minutes straight. Next week ask/pray to God to help you pray for 10 minutes straight. Keep going until you can pray for 20-30 minutes a day straight.

q) Remember this and repeat it often. “This too will pass.” Which means that: This feeling will pass. This situation will not last. In time things will change. Be encouraged. This too will pass.

A good friend of mine has said that keeping a journal of your feelings and observations is one of the best things she could do. I tried it and you know it works wonders. Everynight write down what kind of a day it was and rate it. 1-10. Watch to see if it is going up or down. It gives you an indication of where you have been and where you are going.
Remember bad nights make for bad mornings. Try to never go to bed sad. Read a book, take your mind off the problem. Go to bed without pondering on your troubles.

This list is far from complete. The verses on the next page are certainly not all the verses in the Bible. Add to this list.

Remember the story of the kid who had a very traumatic year in high school? Well the kid made out OK. There is hope. Slowly but surely God placed key people in his life that gave him examples of perseverance, examples of strength And the Lord gave him hope.

Life is tough but there is Hope.

The Lord used those years to refine him. By the grace of God, he did not rebel. Years later, his commitment to the Lord continues strong, and guess what, he’s a happy child. The pain passed, the loneliness passed, what was left had been refined by God and will still continue to be refined of course. There is hope.

Conclusion/Quiet time:

Today I want to challenge you.

Will you start becoming overcomers. More than conquerors. Will you commit today to stop believing that you are a helpless pawn in an uncaring world. Stop believing that you are a helpless pawn in the hands of an uncaring God.

Commit yourself today to doing these things.

This week I am assigning Homework. Homework in Sunday School? Yes. I want you all to go home and tonight before you go to bed I want to write down all the things that you are thankful for. However small. Thank you for my cat. Thank you that I can see. Write them all down. Yes, it’ll be a very long list, so I recommend you get lots of paper. Thank you for this friend. Each day, during your quiet time add to this list. During the day if you think of something, write it on a piece of paper and stick it in your purse or pocket. At night add it to your list. It will be long. Now when you feel you have nothing to be thankful for, go back to this sheet and just read it. Then praise God for key items on it.

Then on another sheet add what you want fixed in your life. Are you ready to get married? Add it to your sheet. Are you tired of school, add it to your sheet. Write them all down and know this: All the problems that you write down: God can overcome them. In fact most of those problems you can actually see that God can use them to mold and purify you. And remember that problems will pass. Remember a very important saying: This too will pass. We will talk about that more in the future. But remember it. This too will pass.

Take control of your life. What I mean is stop being a helpless reactor to events. Stop being a VICTIM! Decide now that you are going to take control of the situation that God has put you in. Look and see if there is a way out of this affliction. Look and see if you can minister to others through this experience.

Make a list of your encouragers. People who make you feel good. People who you can impose your time on to strengthen you. Use them. I recommend however if that person is a person who is the same person who is causing you pain, that you don’t list them. E.g. I just broke up with Joe, because he’s not sure he loves me. But he really cheers me up, I need to be with him. Don’t list Joe, OK, don’t be stupid.

One of the fundamental parts to healing is your attitude. Your attitude to God and your attitude to life.

In two weeks we’ll talk about How to start changing your view on life.

Life is tough, and I have not overcome the pain. I spend many days close to tears. Never knowing what part of my day will bring back a memory, a memory that immediately brings back the pain, never knowing when I’m going to break down. But I know that this too will pass, I know that God is Sovereign and most of all I know that I will praise Him, till the very breath in my lungs has been taken away from me. I pray that today you’ll decide that that is what you want in your life. Will you live for Him? Ask yourself that question now as we pray.

Verses of encouragement, memorize these, stick them on your door, on your mirror.

Ps. 10:17 You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.

1Ths. 4:16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.

Isa. 41:8 “But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, 9 I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, `You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. 10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Jer. 15:20 I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you,” declares the LORD. 21 “I will save you from the hands of the wicked and redeem you from the grasp of the cruel.”

Matt. 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Rom. 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ps. 139:1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. 5 You hem me in –behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. 19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! 20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? 22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

God knows us, he cares for us.

Hebr. 2:4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. 5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 7 You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8 and put everything under his feet.” In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10 In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.

He predestined you from the foundation of the world.

Eph. 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

 
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