Endurance in the Midst of Perplexity

Definition of perplexity – inability to deal with something complicated
Completely baffled or puzzled
Synonyms – Bewildered, puzzled, mystified, etc.

G639 ἀπορέω aporeō ap-or-eh’-o
From a compound of G1 (as a negative particle) and the base of G4198; to have no way out, that is, be at a loss (mentally): – (stand in) doubt, be perplexed.

Audio teaching below with study notes:

Click here for the audio teaching GMFC Bible Study – Endurance in the Midst of Perplexity 6-24-2017.mp3

We are all familiar with being perplexed…but a Christian should NEVER be in DESPAIR(hopeless, without comfort, clinical depression/anxiety(godlessness), at a total loss, etc)!

G1820 ̓ξαπορέομαι exaporeomai ex-ap-or-eh’-om-ahee
Middle voice from G1537 and G639; to be utterly at a loss, that is, despond: – (in) despair.

2Co 4:5  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
2Co 4:6  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2Co 4:7  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
2Co 4:8  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
2Co 4:9  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
2Co 4:10  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
2Co 4:11  For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
2Co 4:12  So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
2Co 4:13  We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;
2Co 4:14  Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
2Co 4:15  For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
2Co 4:16  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
2Co 4:17  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
2Co 4:18  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Sometimes it’s the devil that hinders us (satanic attacks) that need to be fought against:

1Th 2:17  But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.
1Th 2:18  Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.


1) God is utterly sovereign. It’s NOT the Calvinists “sovereign”. It does mean God possesses extreme & supreme power. The quality of being sovereign… Sin, for example, it NOT God’s will! He allows such things to happen, sometimes, in His wisdom.

Dan 4:35  And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

2) Rom 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

3) There is absolutely no unrighteousness with God, ever!

Psa 92:12  The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Psa 92:13  Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.
Psa 92:14  They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;
Psa 92:15  To shew that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Perplexity can happen when one sins(rebels against God)…

You see a people in the following verses who did NOT heed wisdom from God and they end up in calamity as a result of not heeding God’s wisdom and are perplexed. God will not give them answers because they did not listen to His council in the beginning. This would not have happened if they obeyed the scriptures.
Proverbs 1:24-33
Amos 8:8-12
Micah 7:4
Luke 21:25

In Joshua chapter 7 Israel has sin in their camp and Joshua dealt with the cursed thing…
In chapter 8 God is with them and gives them a plan to succeed.

Judges chapters 20 & 21, same circumstances…

No we study Paul in the book of Acts. Paul was a special man in many ways. He had a inistry no other could have. He was the chief instrument to spread throughout the Roman empire. None more important since… He also had similar weaknesses as us. God cares for all His children the same.

Rom 15:4  For whatsoever things were written aforetime(the OT) were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

1Co 11:1  Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

Psa 48:9  We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.
Psa 48:10  According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness.
Psa 48:11  Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.
Psa 48:12  Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.
Psa 48:13  Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.
Psa 48:14  For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.

Studying perplexity in Paul’s life in Acts Chapter 9:

Act 9:9  And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
Act 9:10  And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
Act 9:11  And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
Act 9:12  And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
Act 9:13  Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
Act 9:14  And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
Act 9:15  But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
Act 9:16  For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
Act 9:17  And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
Act 9:18  And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Paul had to flee to Tarsus and we do not hear anything for about 8 years on his account. Can you imagine after 4 or 5 years into this the perplexity Paul must have had?? Why was there such a delay for the LORD to send Paul out? It’s God’s way, not ours. His thoughts, not ours.

Act 9:30  Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.

Acts 11:21-26 Paul starts again(which he knew was his calling from the beginning) A missionary!

Act 11:21  And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.
Act 11:22  Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
Act 11:23  Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
Act 11:24  For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.
Act 11:25  Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:
Act 11:26  And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

At the end of Acts 14, they have traveled thousands of miles and preached to many many new Christians (Jews & Gentiles alike). Many, many revivals… Galatia, etc.

Act 14:28  And there they abode long time with the disciples.

Now he gets a perplexing challenge in Acts chapter 15:

Act 15:1  And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.
Act 15:2  When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

God, through the vision to Cornelius, decided that circumcision was not necessary for Gentiles.

We can expect new problems and challenges as we work for the Lord. This is normal. Paul kept going in Acts 15 and solved the question.

Paul has Silas on the 2nd missionary journey and Timothy as their co-worker.  Now the next perplexity (was not the devil at all):

Act 16:4  And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
Act 16:5  And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
Act 16:6  Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,
Act 16:7  After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not(did not allow them to preach in the North of Asia minor).
Act 16:8  And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas(the southwest of Asia minor). (Paul did not compromise here)! Now, most assuridely after much prayer…
Act 16:9  And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.
Act 16:10  And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

The intimate help for people is a good witness! The 1st preaching on the European Continent.

Act 16:11  Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;
Act 16:12  And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.
Act 16:13  And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.
Act 16:14  And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
Act 16:15  And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

Here we see things going great and a Godly prosperous way. Lidia was most likely wealthy, staying in a nice house, etc. the gospel is going forth, then… 

Act 16:16  And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
Act 16:17  The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.

Act 16:22  And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
Act 16:23  And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
Act 16:24  Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

Can you imagine being Paul. They were called there and things were going well, THEN, they are cast into prison. This must have been incredibly hard for Paul, especially. Many would have given up here.. Paul remembered how God is sovereign and He gives strength… even in times of perplexity! He trusted God and that He is to be worshipped and praise. God is good even if there was “no way out” and they trusted God had a plan, however, not knowing what that was…

Act 16:25  And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
Act 16:26  And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.

This resulted in the salvation of the jailer and his household!

It’s interesting to note Timothy was with them but not with them when they were cast into prison. Maybe he was not ready to take the beatings and God protected him from this…

1Co 10:13  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

God had forbidden the apostles to preach in Asia up until then, but did allow it as we see in Chapter 19.

Act 19:10  And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

Paul wanted to go to Rome. Study the closing of chapter Chapter 15. Rome was (the “center of the World”). The “capital of the world”. Acts chapters 21-28 is when Paul’s prayers were answered to visit the Roman church and he ended up a prisoner there, but testified 2 years. Praise GOD!

Psalms 43,57,73 & 77 really good psalms for thoe tempted to be depressed and or in need of encouragement.

Joh 13:7  Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.

Unnecessary perplexity can come to gospel ministers for not following the directions from God’s Word for ministry close enough:
And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. And David was displeased, because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perezuzzah to this day. And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and said, How shall the ark of the Lord come to me?
10 So David would not remove the ark of the Lord unto him into the city of David: but David carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite.” (2 Samuel 6:7-10)
David then consulted the Scriptures and received the lesson which ended this perplexity:
11 And David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, and Joel, Shemaiah, and Eliel, and Amminadab, 12 And said unto them, Ye are the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it. 13 For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order. 14 So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel. 15 And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the Lord.” (1 Chronicles 11:11-15)
Two other key Scriptures for the righteous in difficult and/or confusing circumstances that they especially ought to know:
18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; 19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. 20 Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield. 21 For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.22 Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.” (Psalm 33:18-22)

Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion.Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.” (Psalm 112:4-7- this whole Psalm is meant as a comfort for the righteous in uncertainty, perplexity, persecution, etc.

Whatever we are facing in terms of perplexity, trust GOD and have HOPE because HE is sovereign. AMEN