Religion

Apostle Peña: God is with us

Some Bahamians are undoubtedly going through hard times.

Skyrocketing prices as a result of a 40-year high inflation rate on top of everything else has left more than a few people with their backs against the wall.

Countries the world over are battling historically high inflation caused by supply chain disruptions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, which were exasperated by the war in Ukraine.

In times like these, some begin questioning God.

It’s not surprising that people find themselves thinking this way, according to Apostle Rosmery Peña, of the Legacy Church.

“Ultimately, how we react to life has a lot of do with how we’ve been trained and, as it pertains to God, how intimately we know him,” Peña said.

She said there hasn’t been a lot of discipleship in the church of late.

“When you haven’t been [taught], in these kinds of times, you have nothing to fall back on but your emotions and, therefore, that is your reaction to life circumstances.”

She pointed to Philippians, the epistle of joy, as an apt Bible book read in times of trial.

Peña pointed to Philippians 4:6, which reads: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”.

Verse eight, she notes, reads, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”

She said Apostle Paul gave Christians a map to get through difficult situations.

“There is a partnership that God requires,” she said. “During these hard times, the partnership will keep us in a place of faith and align us to see the activity of God in terms of Him stepping in and doing certain things.

“Jesus said in this life, you will have trials. He didn’t say just because we are believers, we are going to live without any situations. He promised that He will be with us, and in the end, we will be victorious.

“… The difference for us is that we have a guarantee that God is with us. He is a present help in times of troubles. In Philippians, Paul has that same disposition. He is saying, he is not moved by circumstance.”

She reminded believers that Jesus is a God in the valley and encouraged believers to take on spirit of gratitude.

“All our life is literally going to follow our meditations, especially in hard times,” she said.

However, Peña said this does not mean people should ignore their troubles.

“He’s not telling us to ignore the negative feelings or act like we’re in a euphoric state at all times,” she added.

“Going back to Philippians, Paul said that he knows God, he knows how to abound and how to live in those moments of lack as well.

“One of the things, even as a pastor that I have to help my people through when they’ve been trained by religion, is not to deny grief.”

She said oftentimes when someone loses a loved one, the Christian response is to acknowledge that the deceased is in a better place, which is a cause for rejoicing.

Peña noted however that it is important not to deny grief, but to lean into it, while simultaneously resting in hope.

Speaking more generally, she said everyone will go through a season of trouble, whether it’s bills piling up or health scares.

Peña said the key takeaway is to take your troubles to the Lord and work toward a solution.

“It’s not to concern yourself with the fact that there are bills and bill collectors that are coming, but to take all of these things that can turn into anxiety and worry, these things that will only cause greater harm because it will start to affect your body and now you will have sickness to add to the list to problems.

“Take those needs, take that bill, look at the situation, grab all of that and present that to the Lord in prayer. Make it an intercession for us.

“When you understand prayer, prayer is not saying, ‘let me cast it on God and go about my merry way until He answers’.

“You bring it to Him and that is placing yourself in that posture of trust. In your dialogue, He will give you steps to take and bring the solutions.

“Anxiety clouds your vision. But as you bring these things to Him in prayer, the Lord will give you answers.”

Peña added, “Prayer is not a neglect of duty or a neglect of our responsibility, it’s a partnership with God, especially in hard times, knowing and trusting that He makes a way out of no way.”

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