God Controls the Fate of Nations and Individuals

“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place . . .” Acts 17:26 (Apostle Paul speaking about God’s control over the lives of nations)

“He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away.” Job 12:23

“The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts.” 1 Samuel 2:7

“The LORD works out everything to its proper end— even the wicked for a day of disaster.”  Proverbs 16:4

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”  Proverbs 19:21

“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.”  Proverbs 21:1

God hardens whom he pleases.  Romans 9:18

God Has Control Over Personal and National Hardships

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Gen. 50:20 (Joseph speaking of his own personal trials being part of God’s plan)

“I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”  Acts 9:16 (God speaking about the Apostle Paul)

“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him . . .” Philippians 1:29

“For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”  1 Peter 2:20-21

“If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of gloryand of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? . . . . Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”  1 Peter 4:14-17, 19

“O LORD, you have ordained them as a judgment, and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof.” Habakkuk 1:12 (speaking of God’s purpose to use the Assyrians to judge his own people).

“Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?” Amos 3:6

“I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.”  Isaiah 45:7

“37 Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? 38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?”  Lamentations 3:37-38

It is Wise to Prepare Ahead of Time for Coming Challenges

“Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt. During the seven plentiful years the earth produced abundantly, and he gathered up all the food of these seven years, which occurred in the land of Egypt, and put the food in the cities. He put in every city the food from the fields around it. And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured . . . . The seven years of plenty that occurred in the land of Egypt came to an end . . . .  So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehousesand sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.” Gen. 41:46-49, 53, 56-57

“Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.”  Proverbs 6:6-8

“The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”  Proverbs 22:3

“Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea.”  Acts 11:27-29

But We Cannot Trust in Our Preparations

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”  Psalm 20:7

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” Psalm 127:1

“Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD.”  Isaiah 31:1

God Cares for Us in Our Suffering

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”  Psalm 34:18

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction . . .” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

“Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 3:9-10

He Can Equip Us to Help Others When they Suffer

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”  Romans 5:3-5

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

God's People Should Love Him Even if He Brings Calamity

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”  Habakkuk 3:17-18

“And [Job] said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’”  Job 1:21