Facing Life – When Trouble Enters Our Life
Recently I’ve been thinking about trouble. As a minister, I hear a lot from folks who are experiencing trouble in their lives. Personally, more than once I have had trouble in my business and even in the ministry. There are times when things just do not go the way I want and I find myself facing or trying to fix something that in reality never should have gotten out of hand.
Today I want to talk about trouble – I want to look at two main areas, first, what can cause trouble in our lives, and second, how should we respond when we are troubled? Before I start, let’s turn to the Lord in prayer
Joe Paul Nichols – In the Garden
Dear Heavenly Father, I know that you are in charge of the Universe. I know that you have a grand plan for us. Father, today I ask that you show me the solutions to the trouble I find myself in. I ask that you send the Holy Spirit into my life and help me find the correct path to walk .I am thankful for everything you have given me, especially your Son, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who lived and walked among us and died for us so that we might have eternal life. Thank you – Amen.’
Randy Travis, Nothing but the blood
Holly Dunn, Daddy’s Hands (What I love)
Book Of Proverbs – Chapter 3 – The Rewards of Wisdom.
3 My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments;
2 For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.
3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.
9 Honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first of all your produce;
10 So your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine.
11 My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord Or loathe His reproof,
12 For whom the Lord loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
13 How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding.
14 For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast.
19 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens.
20 By His knowledge the deeps were broken up and the skies drip with dew.
21 My son, let them not vanish from your sight; Keep sound wisdom and discretion,
22 So they will be life to your soul and adornment to your neck.
23 Then you will walk in your way securely and your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Do not be afraid of sudden fear Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes;
26 For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,” when you have it with you.
29 Do not devise harm against your neighbor, While he lives securely beside you.
30 Do not contend with a man without cause, If he has done you no harm.
31 Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways.
32 For the devious are an abomination to the Lord; but He is intimate with the upright.
33 The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the dwelling of the righteous.
34 Though He scoffs at the scoffers, Yet He gives grace to the afflicted.
35 The wise will inherit honor, but fools display dishonor.
Don Gibson, When They ring those golden bells
Ferlin Husky, Wings of a dove
Today I want to talk about trouble – I want to look at two main areas, first, what can cause trouble in our lives, and second, how should we respond when we are troubled?
As I thought about my troubles, I began to wonder about the official definition of the word trouble. I know instinctively how it feels when I am in trouble, but I wondered what the word really means. So I looked the word up and according to the dictionary there are actually three meanings for it. Two are used when the word is used as a noun and one when used as a verb. For example, for individuals the definition of trouble is “difficulty or problems”, for groups “public unrest or disorder”, and when we use it as a verb, it can mean, “cause distress or anxiety to”.
In all cases, ‘trouble’ means a disruption of normal life activities and that feeling of disruption is what we all notice the most.
So what can cause trouble in our lives? Life itself can be a cause, of our troubles.
If we get to the point where we think we have wasted our lives, when we feel like there is no easy answer or way out, we have a tendency to make rash statements that can lead us to make ever more poor decisions. In fact, we often find ourselves digging a deeper hole that becomes even more difficult to climb out of. We find in the Book of Proverbs in chapter 12 verse 13 a very direct statement to that effect “An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous will escape from trouble.”
Since we often talk our way into our problems, it becomes important that at some point we learn to reign it in. We need to stop talking and start thinking, we need to realize that most of the time we got ourselves into this mess and we can get ourselves out of it. What usually happens though is we find that our troubles are often a by-product of our own narrow focus view of life.
According to Ecclesiastes chapter 2 verses 22-23, “For what does a man get in all his labor and in his striving with which he labors under the sun? Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is vanity.”
When we really think about life, it seems as if most of us live with the motto, “I owe, I owe, it’s off to work I go”. We do things only for the money and not for the love of the job. As the teacher says in Ecclesiastes that is a waste of time, often reminds me of the proverbial dog chasing its tail. We run in circles and never make any real headway. We become tired, cranky, and we take it out on our families and friends and our behavior gets us into trouble.
Maybe in order to quiet our minds we take to drugs or alcohol. We check out from our families and our friends. We begin to make rash decisions in order to bring some quiet into our lives. Sadly most of those decisions, much like our decisions to speak before thinking, often bring us more trouble.
We humans seems to have a fantastic capacity for bringing problems upon ourselves; there are those times however, when others are the cause of our troubles.
We read in Psalm 62 verses 3-4 “How long will you assail a man, That you may murder him, all of you, Like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence? They have counseled only to thrust him down from his high position; they delight in falsehood; They bless with their mouth, But inwardly they curse.” In the first part of the psalm the writer is asking some straight forward questions that I am sure some of us have asked, (although not in the same language) of folks who are tormenting us. The questions are plain; how long do you plan on continuing to mistreat me? Do you plan to continue until I can no longer stand it, until I collapse? Bullies enjoy seeing a person suffer and fall; they feel important by making others feel unimportant. Their low self-esteem drives them to bring others down and they will do it anyway they can. They will cause trouble either physically or verbally.
When the writer says ‘they have counseled’ and ‘they delight in falsehood’, it reminds me of some of what I see on social media. The bullying, the cursing, the name-calling, it has become rampant; people hide behind screen names and lash out at others. It is almost an epidemic. This behavior not only affects the person attacked, it has the possibility to affect folks we know. Those timeline posts, those tweets are visible by everyone who is on your friends list and in some cases, by everyone who is online. Ask yourself, have you ever run into one of your friends and notice how even though they smile and say hello, there seems to be something different in their attitude. Bet you a dollar to a doughnut that they have heard or read something negative about you. In other words, as it says in the psalm “They bless with their mouth, But inwardly they curse.” The relationship you used to have with that person has been changed because of the trouble another has caused in your life.
So how can we respond to the troubles in our lives? In the Gospel of John in chapter 14 verse 1, Jesus tells us “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” A true deeply held belief in Jesus does bring an inner peace to us. Unfortunately, that inner peace may be drowned out by the noise of outer turmoil; at those times, we should cry out to God for help. Remember, we don’t have to endure it all by ourselves.
In the Gospel of Mark chapter 6 verses 45-52, “Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.”
Jesus has finished preaching, He has sent His disciples away, and after saying goodbye to the crowds, He headed out to pray. One thing I have noticed in my readings of the Gospels, is how often Jesus went off to pray by Himself, we can take heed from that, every now and then, just go out by yourself and pray. Truly make it between yourself and God.
The gospel continues, “When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He *came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them.”
Jesus is standing on the shore, He looks out and sees His disciples struggling against a storm. He started out towards them, but as He got near, the Gospel says something strange; “He intended to pass by them” in other words, He was showing them that He was there, but unless they asked for help, He was going to go about His business. It is much the same in our lives, He is there for us, but we have to ask, He will allow us to live our own lives. It is our choices, our free will to either go along on our merry way or to stop and ask for help. He is NOT going to force Himself on us.
The disciples saw a figure walking on the water, and essentially freaked out. “But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were terrified. “ Now the Gospel does not recount what they said, but if they thought they were seeing a ghost, I am pretty sure it was something other than ‘Hello’.
Jesus heard their cry, and the gospel continues, “But immediately He spoke with them and *said to them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid. “Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped.” They cried out and He went to them and reassured them that things were going to be ok. It is the same, with us when we are facing troubles in our lives, if we call out to Him, He will reassure us that things are going to be OK; but we HAVE to ask Him to come into our lives.
When He does come into our lives, and when He does help straighten out the troubles we were facing, often time we are like the disciples in the continuation of the story, “and they were utterly astonished, for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.” As soon as He enters our lives, we will begin to feel calmer; however, much like disciples who had not learned anything from the miracle of the loaves and fishes, which had taken place ONLY a day earlier; we often forget what Jesus has done for us in the past. So we are astonished that things get better and we happily go on our way until the next time we are in trouble and then once again we freak out. Instead, we need to remain steadfast in our faith that He will help us out, that He will calm the waters that are encircling us.
God has promised us that when in times of trouble He will be there. In the Book of Isaiah chapter 43 verse 2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.” Whenever I read this verse, I think about how we often describe the time of our lives as a river. It flows endlessly, and every now and then, it seems to flood. Those floods are when we are facing troubles and God’s promise to us it that we will not drown. He will keep us afloat. The fires are those times when our lives go so out of control that they are as if we are facing a forest fire. Things rage out of control and we feel as if no matter what we choose, it always seems to be the wrong thing. Those are the times when God, will come in and like a cool rain or a cold spell put out those fires. You see, most of the fire is actually in our own heads, we start to vibrate so quickly that there doesn’t seem to be anyway out and we feel as if we are going to be completely overwhelmed.
God promises to help, so if we slow down, take a minute to relax and ponder what’s going on, I think we can find a way to get out of the trouble we might find ourselves in. If all begins with a prayer – “Dear Heavenly Father, I know that you are in charge of the Universe. I know that you have a grand plan for us. Father, today I ask that you show me the solutions to the trouble I find myself in. I ask that you send the Holy Spirit into my life and help me find the correct path to walk .I am thankful for everything you have given me, especially your Son, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who lived and walked among us and died for us so that we might have eternal life. Thank you – Amen.’
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