Times That Try Men’s Souls

By Kevin Hyde

It may be some time before we are again able to resume our regular order of church services.  It is important that we remain in touch, even if only remotely.  So, we decided to restart the Daily Bible Study and chat questions.  Last time we did this we had a great discussion.

The lesson below is a follow up to our Sunday service.  There, we talked about the importance of remembering God in troubling times.  Read the lesson below and think about the three questions below.  Then, please give your thoughts and join in the discussion.

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“These are the times that try men’s souls.” 

We’ve all heard this saying and it is as true today as almost any point in our lives.  The events are not as sudden as 9/11, but are more widespread.  The uncertainty is prevalent.  Who have thought we would have been facing or reacting to a pandemic?

Where does the above quote from?  It’s actually quite old.  It was written on December 23, 1776 and is the first line of an article entitled “The Crisis” by Thomas Paine.   Paine was writing of the challenge faced by the nation during the time of the Revolutionary War.  He specifically wrote of how Americans did not want war with Britain but how the war must be faced.  Naturally, the people were afraid.  The Americans were, after all, the vastly inferior military force.  The people were becoming demoralized.   And in the midst of all of the battles going around them, and the retreat just made by the Americans, Paine wrote:

I thank God, that I fear not.  I see no real cause for fear.  I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it.”

Do you (or can you) feel the same way about the current difficulties we face as a result of the Coronavirus?  To help put things into perspective, let’s consider Jesus’ statement in Luke 12:22-31.  There, Jesus concludes the argument he had made about how God was in control.  In verses 16-21 Jesus told the parable of the Rich fool who trusted in his riches.  God told him that his barns would be torn down.  Through the parable God reminded everyone of the folly of “laying up treasure for himself” and not being “rich toward God.”

Read the passage below and ask yourself these questions:  how are you turning to God to deal with the fear of the Coronavirus?  What specific things are you doing?  How can you help others?

22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his[c] kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

5 thoughts on “Times That Try Men’s Souls

  1. Jesus says so many things about why we should not worry in this passage and all of them are good. I think a lot about v25, “which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” I understand it to mean that worrying does no good. We need to find ways to enjoy all the extra time we have as Kevin mentioned Sunday, (maybe starting by taking a break from the constant news?) and rejoice that God is our Father.

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  2. What parent wants his child cowering in fear or fretting over things beyond his control? Parents want their children to trust their parents to provide for and protect them so the children are free to grow, learn and thrive. God wants no less for His children. Perhaps the most profound way we can demonstrate our faith to a worried world is to depend on God always, but especially when times are scary and uncertain.

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  3. We have been learning and memorizing Philippians 4:6-7 during February and March with Jude. Little did I know how very much I would be quoting it to myself, struggling to do what it says. “Be anxious for NOTHING, but in EVERYTHING by PRAYER and SUPPLICATION with THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to God, and the PEACE which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” We can’t/shouldn’t be anxious about the Coronavirus?! How is that possible? Prayer and supplies to the God in whom we live and have our very being, coupled with thankfulness for the blessings that are right in front of us, will bring us peace! We can’t understand it, but thankfully, He gives it. ❤️

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    1. That’s a great story Kathy about you and Jude memorizing this verse – not aware of how you would be called on to apply it.

      I would imagine that memorizing and talking about it has made it easier to have a good outlook now that we are being tested?

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