Maintain Poise in Times of Crisis

What do coming days hold in store for us? Are there brighter days ahead as far as this old world is concerned?

By W. E. READ, President of the Northern European Division

The last twelve months will long be remembered as months of crisis in world affairs. As the weeks and months have passed by, we have seen thrones totter and fall, countries overrun by the oppressor, and full play given to the forces of devastation. Thousands have lost their lives; still larger numbers have been bereaved and persecuted. Thousands more have been rendered homeless and are now in want and penury. What a sad commentary on our modern civilization, with all its achievements in science, and its hopes and prospects for the betterment of the human race ! Yet, while the daily press has been full of these happenings, the great God of heaven has His hand upon His own work. The message of heaven marches forth to vic­tory. Triumphs of grace are seen in mission lands, and large numbers of people have turned from darkness to light.

What do coming days hold in store for us? Are there brighter days ahead as far as this old world is concerned? None of us can penetrate the veil of the future. This is wisely withheld from our gaze. To the chil­dren of God, however, to those who are look­ing to the blessed advent of the Son of man, all these things are signs which proclaim in unmistakable language that the day of the Lord is nigh at hand. It is at such a time as this that the Saviour bids us, "Look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." Luke 21 :28. Amid the strife of nations, amid the turmoil and perplexity all around us, we are to "know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men."

For such a time as this God has a message for His servants, a message which brings comfort and cheer to their hearts, a message which shows the way amid the doubts and scenes of perplexity on every hand. Centuries ago the God of heaven spoke through the sweet singer of Israel, "Be still, and know that I am God." This counsel comes to our hearts today. In days of crisis the psalm in which these words are found has been a source of courage and confidence to God's servants. Think of what it meant to Luther when he faced the hosts of evil in his day. Think of what it will mean to the remnant of the church of God in the time of Jacob's trouble. It is said of the time when the Saviour brings as­surance to their hearts:

"Their faces . . . are now aglow with wonder, faith, and love. Their voices rise in triumphant song: 'God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.' "— "The Great Controversy," p. 639.

In the hour of crisis, the peace of God takes possession of their souls. They rest on Him, and because of the victory He has wrought in them, they stand unmoved amid the threaten­ings of evil men, and face danger with a for­titude and courage born of God. What does this world situation mean to us as leaders in the cause of God? How are we to relate ourselves to the difficulties and perplexities that arise? Is it God's purpose that we be agitated and nervous over the future ? That we be baffled and bewildered by the uncertain­ties and perplexities of this time? Think of God's threefold call at this time.

The Call to Full Surrender

"Be still." What a significant expression ! It means to give in, to be still, to let go, to cease, to stop opposition, to yield. Leeser's translation has the expression "leave off," and in a footnote we find "leave off war and con­test." Moffatt translates the term "give in." In a note in the "Companion Bible" we find "desist" Or "cease your efforts." How full of meaning are these words. Where we have sought our own way, we are to yield and seek His way. Where we have tried in our own strength to do the will of God, we are to cease our own efforts. We are to "give in." We are to surrender and let God work in us, "both to will and to do of His good pleasure."

The Call to Meditate on Christ's Peace

What a wonderful example Jesus set before us. What calm, restful confidence He had in His Father's care. Even when He was on the sea amid the storms and tempests, with the waves lashed into fury, He was undis­turbed, for there was a deep peace in His soul.

"He stands in the midst of His disciples, while the tempest rages, the waves break over them, and the lightning illuminates His countenance. He lifts His hand, so often employed in deeds of mercy, and says to the angry sea, 'Peace, be still.'

"The storm ceases. The billows sink to rest. The clouds roll away, and the stars shine forth. The boat rests upon a quiet sea. . . . When Jesus was awakened to meet the storm, He was in perfect peace. There was no trace of fear in word or look, for no fear was in His heart. . . .

"How often the disciples' experience is ours ! When the tempests of temptation gather, and the fierce lightnings flash, and the waves sweep over us, we battle with the storm alone, forgetting that there is One who can help us. We trust to our own strength till our hope is lost, and we are ready to perish. Then we remember Jesus, and if we call upon Him to save us, we shall not cry in vain. Though He sorrowfully reproves our unbelief and self-confidence, He never fails to give us the help we need. Whether on the land or on the sea, if we have the Saviour in our hearts, there is no need of fear."—"The De­sire of Ages," pp. 335, 336.

The Call to Restfulness and Confidence

Amid trials and difficulties, in days when dangers threaten on the right hand and on the left, at times when the skies are overhung with clouds, it is the purpose of God that we be restful in Him. What beautiful promises the Lord has given to us in His Word. From Isaiah, the evangelist prophet of the Old Tes­tament, comes the assurance, "In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength." Isa. 30:15. Again, "The work of righteous­ness shall be peace; and the effect of right­eousness quietness and assurance forever." Isa. 32:17. And yet again, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee." Isa. 26:3.

What comforting words come to us also from the lips of the Saviour: "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you. . . . Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27. What joy will come to our hearts as we enter fully into the heritage that is ours in Christ Jesus. If we can only learn the lesson of casting all our cares upon Him, knowing that He careth for us, if we but let Him bear our burdens and recognize that, after all, the government is upon "His shoulder," what might we not see in growth in our Christian experience, and what wonder­ful triumphs in the work of God! In these days of turmoil, of noise, bustle, and rush:

"We must individually hear Him speaking to the heart. When every other voice is hushed, and in quietness we wait before Him, the silence of the soul makes more distinct the voice of God. He bids us, 'Be still, and know that I am God.' Here alone can true rest be found. And this is the effec­tual preparation for all labor for God. Amid the hurrying throng, and the strain of life's intense activities, the soul that is thus refreshed will be surrounded with an atmosphere of light and peace. The life will breathe out fragrance, and. will reveal a divine power that will reach men's hearts."—Id., p. 363.

How comforting to know that "His under­standing will be placed at their service, that they may not err in the carrying out of His purposes."—"Testimonies," Vol. VIII, p. 11

How blessed to know that "if we come to Him in faith, He will speak His mysteries to us personally. . . . Those who decide to do noth­ing in any line that will displease God, will know, after presenting their case before Him, just what course to pursue."—"The Desire of Ages," p. 668. "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body ; and be ye thankful." Col. 3:15. "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:7.

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By W. E. READ, President of the Northern European Division

November 1940

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