Well known Pastor and author Timothy Keller has been encouraging Christians on his podcast to continue trusting God throughout difficult times. For strength and hope throughout the difficult times, Keller mentions to meditate on God's words and promises.
"I can still be joyful in the world."
In an economy such as Israel; in ancient society, without fruits, vines, olive crops, nor sheep, every individual went through trials and tribulations. Even through the time of poverty and awful death, people rejoiced in him during the circumstances that were falling apart. Tim Keller compares and contrasts the time being in Israel and today's coronavirus pandemic. 'Even in tough situations, one must rejoice and have trust in God.'
Tim Keller also relates the devastating world today with an English missionary, Alan Gardiner who was the last one alive on his way for a mission. Through starvation, broken body, hopes being dashed, yet; the young English missionary stated that he was overwhelmed with the sense of the glory of God. Although he wanted to be a missionary, he was overwhelmed with God's presence already. As Alan Gardiner was dying, he wrote in his journal, "I am overwhelmed with the sense of the goodness of God."
Psalm 34:10 'The young lion may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.'
Pastor Tim Keller mentions that Alan must've gotten directly in contact with that goodness because there were no good circumstances around him. Because everything was wrong, there must have been a problem; yet, Alan states that he is overwhelmed with the sense of glory of God. Even through the pandemic, one must be overwhelmed and pleased by God. From the good things that are happening to us, one cannot be fooled to be still.
From his encouraging words, there are 3 ideas for Christians to practice.
"To get in contact with God directly, we need to have practice in our lives such as praying two or three times a day. Repetition is extremely important because it shows us Jesus over and over again and each gospel goes deeper. There's a need for bible memory, regular prayer, daily hours of prayer, because we are creatures who work through habit." Keller stated.
"The goodness of God: If there's nothing happening right now then the purpose is to remind yourself of all the other things he's done for you." Keller stated.
"Praise not just thinking about the good things he's done, but get in touch with who God is, thinking about God's holiness, grace, and his love for us in Jesus Christ." Keller stated.
During the Q/A time, Tim and his Wife Kathy Keller spoke about God answering prayers.
'Just because I didn't answer your prayer your way doesn't mean I didn't answer your prayer anyway.' "We often don't see God's answers to prayer because we're looking for something else. Fix that alter that fixes the circumstances somehow and we don't see the answer he's actually giving. How does one develop the capacity to see the answers that God's giving and not the answers we're looking for?"
Pastor Tim Keller responds, "God gives you what you would have asked for if you knew everything he knows. If we knew everything God knew, therefore what he was giving me; he actually always answered your prayers. Yet, he finds different ways to answer prayers. When we pray we give what we want. God says look I will give you but not the way you want."