Tag Archives: trials

Talking To Trouble

“…They cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses” —Psalm 107:6, 13, 19, 28

Job 5:7 says, “man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” Ain’t that the truth?! From the time we are born until we go to heaven, trouble will be reality in all of our lives. When trouble comes, we often feel helpless to do anything about it. We talk about our troubles. We cry about them. We whine about it, but the trouble remains (or gets worse!).

I’m glad I have a God who can talk to my troubles and do something about them.

Jesus talked to the troubled storm saying, “Peace, be still!” and the storm was calmed. Jesus talked to the trouble of physical infirmity saying, “Be thou clean,” and the infirmity was cleansed. Jesus talked to the sick of the palsy, “Arise,” and immediately he got up! Jesus talked to a troubled demoniac saying, “Come out of the man,” and his trouble left. Jesus talked to a troubled widow saying, “Weep not,” and her tears ceased. Jesus talked to the trouble of fear saying, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid,” fear departed.   Jesus talked to the trouble of death saying, “Lazarus come forth,” and death took a hike.

Are you encountering some kind trouble in your life? Why not ask Jesus to talk to your troubles? I assure you that nobody can talk to trouble like Jesus can!” Amen!

Psalm 46:1— “God is … a very present help in trouble.”

Psalm 50:15— “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee.”

Songs in the Night

But none saith, Where is God  my maker, who giveth SONGS IN THE NIGHT (Job 35:10)

Some of the most beautiful singing canaries in the world have come from the Harz Mountains of Germany.   But during World War I, it became impossible to find one of these little songbirds.

So a dealer in New York came up with the idea of training an American finch to sing just like the European variety.  He had the songs of these famous birds recorded and mailed to his home.  He played them over and over each day in the room where he kept his own canaries.  At first his efforts met with little success.

Then one day he made an amazing discovery.  He found that if he covered their cages and completely shut out the light, the American birds soon learned to warble like those on the recording.

Similarly, we learn to sing God’s praises in the nighttime experiences of life. It is during those times when we are more inclined to pay attention to His voice than when we enjoy the bright days of light-hearted pleasure, which tend to distract our attention away from God.

Rest in Times of Trouble

Paul wrote to troubled Thessalonians, “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven … When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe” (2 Thessalonians 1:7, 10).

As in the troublesome days when Paul wrote these words, we are living in perilous times also. There is the threat of terrorism, political unrest, and sin abounding on every hand.

But, Paul extends an invitation to those who are troubled to “REST with us.”  Paul was resting, so why can’t we rest with him?   How can we rest with world conditions getting worse and worse?  By looking forward to the day when the Jesus shall come and put an end to our troubles.

Until then, rest in this assurance—When Jesus comes He will make everything that is wrong in the world, right!  This truth should bring rest to any troubled believer.

The Hard Way vs. The Easy Way

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. —Luke 9:23

A couple of days ago I had lunch with the daughter of one of our missionaries who was visiting in the states.  She is 30 years old, unmarried, and has spent most of her life on the mission field.  I asked what her long term plans were.  She said she wanted to be a missionary.  “Where?” I asked.  She answered, “I want to go to a country where living is hard—Maybe a remote village in Africa.”  I was impressed by her answer, but also convicted.  Living in America has made me somewhat “soft.”

I am reminded about a man who wrote to the great African missionary David Livingston, asking for the easiest way to get to him. Livingston wrote back, “I’m not looking for a man who wants the easy way.  I need a man who will make his own way.”

I think as most Christians read their Bible they miss how little God seems to care for the ease and comfort of His people.  How we love to be coddled, but I don’t see God pampering His Old Testament saints.  On the contrary, they “had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented… they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth” (Heb. 11:36-38).

It was no different in the New Testament.  When Jesus prayed for His followers, He did not pray for their physical comfort.  He knew the harsh and cruel world they were facing. So He prayed, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from evil.” Jesus was not so concerned for their comfort, as He was for their character.

New Testament Christians never expected an easy life free of pain. They did not pray for an escape from discomfort, but rather greater boldness in the face of opposition. Hear them pray, “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings… Grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.”

Notice the difference in the conversation of the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus. The repentant thief prays, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”  He was not praying to be taken off the cross, but that he would be remembered in heaven. But the other thief prays, “If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.”  He couldn’t care less about Christ’s kingdom.  He just wanted to be removed from that painful cross.

When Peter rebuked Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8, Simon asked Peter to pray for him.  And what was Simon’s prayer request?  For forgiveness???  No, he said, “Pray ye.. that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.”  He was more concerned about his comfort than for conversion.

Paul’s prayers are a pattern for Christians today. When in chained in prison, does Paul ask the church to pray that God would heal the wounds on his back or set him free?  No.  Paul’s prayer request was that “utterance may given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds.” He asks not for the easy way, but rather for grace to walk the hard way.

Compare the prayer requests of church members today to the prayers in the Bible.  Big difference.  The saints in the Bible never prayed for a smooth way. They took the hard road.

May the same be true of us.

THE TEST

“…now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” —Genesis 22:12 

God tested Abraham by telling him to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering on Mount Moriah. It was a test of Abraham’s love for God over his love for his son. The test was more for Abraham’s benefit than God’s. Abraham went to do what God told him, but God stopped him short of actually sacrificing Isaac saying, “…now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” Abraham passed the test!

I could go to my friend, Pastor Blue, and tell him I love him and that if he ever needed me, I’m only a phone call away. That sounds good, but he really doesn’t know whether I mean it or not until I’m put to the test.

One man came to Jesus and boldly proclaimed, “Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest” (Luke 9:57). But, when he was put to the test his resolve began to dissolve.  It’s so easy to come to church and say how much we love God and believe His Word. But we don’t know if we really meant it or not until we are put to the test!

I can say, “God, I’m going to serve You no matter what happens in my life… If I’m healthy or I’m sick… If I’m on the mountain top or in the valley… If my friends stand by me or they forsake me to stand alone…” But this is just talk until these commitments are put to the test!

How committed are you to God? You will find out when you are put to the test.  I pray your commitment will pass the test.