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.
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, according to Ecclesiastes chapter 2 verses 22-23, trouble is often a by-product of our fallen human life. “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.
Once 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.”
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. It starts 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.’