“I’m in trouble.”
It’s a word that stops us in our tracks. Gets our attention. And causes us to listen.
There are all kinds of trouble. Car trouble. Financial trouble. Relational trouble. Legal trouble. Marital trouble.
Some troubles are physical. Others are mental. Emotional. Or even spiritual.
We encounter trouble in our jobs. At home. In our neighborhoods. And even at church.
Sometimes, we sing a hymn by Bill Gaither that begins like this.
Troublesome times are here, filling men’s hearts with fear
Freedom we all hold dear now is at stake
Humbling your hearts to God saves from the chastening rod
Seek the way pilgrims trod, Christians awake
During this highly polarized, and partisan election year we talk about our country being in trouble. It reminds me of a quip by the American novelist and social critic Sinclair Lewis “The trouble with this country is that there are too many people going about saying, ‘The trouble with this country is….’”
Whatever trouble you’re facing right now, here are 5 suggestions from Scripture that will help you deal with trouble.
#1 Realize your troubles are not unique or unusual.
The patriarch Job affirmed, “Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1).
Some of life’s troubles are the result of others’ misdeeds or mistreatment. Some troubles are self-inflicted. And other troubles are simply the result of time and chance (Eccl. 9:11). Also God may use trouble as a means of discipline (Heb 12:3-11).
The advice columnist Ann Landers was once asked what the single piece of advice she would offer humanity. She replied, “Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life, and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye and say, ‘I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.”
#2 Call on the Lord.
The Psalms often speak of the trial of trouble. David’s often repeated answer was, “I will call upon God (Ps. 55:16). Asaph said, In the day of trouble I sought the Lord (Ps. 77:2).
The Bible teaches that God knows about our troubles. Cares about our problems. Hears our cry. And will answer our fervent prayer.
#3 Remember past blessings.
When Asaph faced trouble, he said, “I will remember the works of the Lord.” He recalled the Lord’s works of old. His greatness. His goodness. His grace. And the blessings he received through the years (Ps. 77:10-15).
When we’re in the midst of some troubling situation, it’s easy to forget about all the good things we’ve enjoyed. How God has blessed us. And the Divine promise to never leave us or forsake us.
#4 Meditate on the Word.
In our hectic, fast-paced culture, with a demanding agenda, never-ending task lists, and jam-packed schedules, meditation is a lost virtue.
Unfortunately, when trouble comes, we may waste time wringing our hands and worrying, instead of meditating on God’s Word. His works. And His will for our lives.
In the face of trouble, Asaph resolved to meditate on God’s mighty deeds. David provides for us the right focus when he wrote in Ps 119:15-16
I will meditate on Your precepts,
And contemplate Your ways.
I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word.
“Meditation is vital to spiritual development,” opined Dee Bowman. And it’s vital to look at our troubles with the right perspective and moving forward.
#5 Declare God’s goodness.
As Asaph worked his way through trouble, he realized that God is great, works wonders, and offers redemption. So he exclaimed, “I will declare your strength among the peoples” (Ps 77:13-15).
Too often we grumble and grip against God when we face trouble. Or worse yet, we blame God.
You will feel better and your troubles will be easier to face and resolve when you enlist God’s help. Praise Him. And verbally proclaim His presence, providence and power working in your life.
Finally, it’s well to remember the succinct advice of William Arthur Ward. “Wise are they who have learned these truths: Trouble is temporary. Time is tonic. Tribulation is a test tube.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman