An American couple on their way to Africa were surprised to find themselves traveling in an entirely wrong direction. They had intended to fly from Los Angeles to Istanbul in Turkey and from there to Dakar, the capital of Senegal, a country in West Africa. After arriving in Istanbul, they boarded a flight that they believed would take them to Dakar. But they were shocked when the aircraft’s in-flight map informed them that they were flying over the Middle East, which is the wrong direction if your destination is West Africa!
Due to a mix-up with airport codes, the couple had mistakenly taken a flight to Dhaka, which is in Bangladesh, instead of to Dakar in Senegal. During preflight announcements, the flight attendant had said the plane was bound for “Dhaka,” which they mistook for “Dakar.” On takeoff they sat back to enjoy what they thought was the final leg of their journey, only to discover that they still had a long way to go!
What reason do you have to think that you can get to where you want to go in life? Christians trust in a God who will guide them, but how can they be sure that they won’t end up somewhere they hadn’t planned on?
God gave His Word
Interestingly, God has given us evidence after evidence that demonstrates we can have total faith and trust in Him. And He has done this in a way that allows us to put Him to the test.
God inspired the writing of the Bible thousands of years ago. Beginning with Moses, who wrote the first five books of the Bible and the book of Job, and ending with John, who composed Revelation, “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).
God did not dictate the Bible to human beings, expecting them to write down word for word exactly what He had said. Rather, He moved upon their minds by the power of the Holy Spirit, inspiring them to write—in their own words—the thoughts and ideas that He impressed upon them.
But in some portions of the Bible God did speak directly. At times people did hear His voice, and the biblical authors recorded what He said for posterity. Some of the early patriarchs, such as Abraham, heard God speak to them (Genesis 12:1–3; 18:1, 2). God Himself wrote the Ten Commandments (Exodus 31:18), and the New Testament contains words spoken by Jesus.
In the Bible, God puts Himself on the line in ways that no other religious figure has ever done. He repeatedly made predictions, claims about Himself, and promises to His people that are verifiable, and, frankly, either true or false.
History demonstrates that God’s predictions about the future have come to pass, and His ability to predict future events can provide us with a significant degree of comfort. But what would it matter if God could predict the future if He wasn’t interested in our present? To put it in more practical terms, what does a person need during a crisis? A fortune-teller? A predictor of events? The God of the Bible has revealed Himself to be far more than a prophet informing us about the future.
This isn’t to say that God’s predictions about the future have no value. In demonstrating that He knows the future of the world, God displays not only His divinity but also His trustworthiness. If we can have confidence in what He tells us about the future, then we can rely on the rest of what He says in the Bible. And so much of what He presents is designed especially to give us confidence in the midst of a crisis.
God knew the world would increasingly spin out of control as the twenty-first century progresses. He foresaw the heartache people would experience. Massive financial problems don’t take Him by surprise. God knew that Ponzi schemes would rise long before anyone had ever heard of Charles Ponzi. He saw people rebuilding their lives after tornadoes or hurricanes; He knew that disease, crime, and war would keep breaking out; and, having demonstrated that He can talk about the future, God can speak with authority to people who are dealing with shattered lives and broken dreams.
God makes promises, and He has demonstrated consistently and repeatedly that what He predicts invariably comes to pass. Therefore, we can believe the promises He makes to us in the Bible.
Unlike the promises we humans make, God’s promises never fail. They cannot. The Bible says, “God is not a man, that He should lie” (Numbers 23:19). What God pledges, will happen. And if we understand this, we’ll never face another crisis without complete confidence in His ability and willingness to guide us through it.
Promises to keep
Hebrews 13:5 records that Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” When your world looks as though it’s coming apart, that’s precisely the time to remember this promise. God has said that He will never leave you. He’s with you. You are not alone. The One who wrapped the rings around Saturn has told you that He cares for you, which means there’s no reason for you to wonder, worry, or doubt. God has said it, you can believe it, and that settles it.
Job loss, money worries, no food in the pantry, a car in need of repair, healing from an illness, a new suit for church or work—life is full of needs. And needs are different from wants. You want a Bentley, but you need a way to get to work. While you may want a million dollars, you need a way to pay the rent. God understands that we have needs. And He acknowledges that in one of the most comprehensive promises found in the Bible.
Philippians 4:19 says, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” That’s a promise. You can take it to God just as you would a check to the bank, and you can expect Him to provide what He has promised.
Will He really do that? Yes, He will. So if you need a car, will He see that you get one? Here’s where a word of caution is in order. God knows your needs, and He will meet them. You might think you have to have a car, but God provides you with a ride to work courtesy of a kind neighbor. Or you might think you’ve got to have money to pay the rent, when God knows that letting you get evicted will get you out of a bad neighborhood. God knows best. And when you can accept that, you won’t look at His promises the way children do the list of Christmas wishes they hand Santa Claus in a department store. You can present God’s promises to Him, believe that He hears, know what He’s promised, and trust Him to do what’s best in your situation.
When God promises something, you can count on it coming to pass. So when He declares that He’s going to forgive your sins, you can believe it. Or when He tells you He’ll be with you in the dark times of your life, you can trust that He will indeed, just as He said He would. And when He says that He’ll provide for you, you can trust that He’ll do it.
Can you trust God to lead you? At times, it may seem as though you’re in Dhaka instead of Dakar, but leave it in God’s hands and let Him demonstrate to you His unfailing faithfulness.