Trouble is…good?

21 Jul

Issues Stressed

Reading the story of the Israelites in Judges is so fascinating. The Israelites were the chosen ones. They had the utmost privilege of being in the best position in life; a part of the nation that was loved, chosen and protected by God. They had everything they could possibly need on their plate. Sometimes content or satisfaction breeds complacency. The Israelites began to take God for granted and repeatedly so. (Judges 3:7; 3:12; 4:1)

Through taking God for granted, they started doing their own thing and creating their own gods. In essence, they stepped away from under God’s protection and into the wilderness without intentionally doing so. In that situation, God allowed trouble to come to Israelites to help them (Important Note: he didn’t cause it, he withdrew his strength and protection because the Israelites walked away)

Troubles can help us because they cause us to take certain actions to rectify or ‘fix’ what is happening. Our first response can be to blame God, get upset, or sulk. The way we respond determines the outcome; whether it is good or bad.

As Christians, troubles are helpful because:

1. It Humbles us

Time after time, I am humbled when I realize I can’t do it all on my own strength. There are so many times where I get confident and begin doing my own thing in my own way. Without fail, something comes along and puts me back in my place and God in his rightful place above me.

2. Weans us from the allurements of the world and drives us back to God

When we realise that certain actions/habits we become accustomed to does more damage, we become aware that we need to move away from it. It can be gambling hurting finances, pornography hurting relationships, alcoholism hurting reputation or even a lack of God bringing a stale spirit. As one knows that God is the all providing and all-caring God, it becomes second nature to turn to him with our baggage and issues.

3. Vitalize our Prayers

I do not know about you but when I am desperate, my prayers become desperate, my spirit becomes desperate for God to just do something! Through desperation, it can kick start our prayer lifestyle if it has died a bit. The Israelites CRIED out to the Lord for help, they were desperate and God delivered them. Through our own moments that devastate us, we cry out to God for something to happen. When God does do something, it brings us confidence in our prayer life and relationship with God.

4. Allows us to experience more of God’s faithfulness

Short and sweet – God is faithful and we are not. We have made mistakes, yet God still loves us. When we get into trouble that was caused by our own undoing, we always have the amazing opportunity to sincerely repent and ask for forgiveness. God has already made a way for us to come to his arms no matter our past. Every trouble we endured and every time we turn back to God, his faithfulness is on full display

5. Makes us more dependent on God

When I’m in trouble, I run to somebody who I know can take care of it. When I cannot do absolutely anything, I turn to God who can do absolutely everything. I truly believe that being a Christ-Follower means surrendering to God daily. Troubles reiterates this notion and reminds us to lay it down at his feet and follow his instruction. How blessed are we to be able to do this?!

6. Encourages us to submit to God’s purpose for our lives

If we truly had everything while we were doing our own thing, we wouldn’t feel a need to move from where we are. If we are not walking in God’s purpose, but our own; God can allow troubles to enable us to realise that we truly need God and we ought to walk in his path. Jonah in the Bible was commanded to speak to Ninevah but he didn’t like them at all so he ran away. Long story short, he jumped on a boat and a storm hit. He knew he was the cause of it and was thrown off into the sea, thus eaten by a big fish. Jonah was in a big pickle and knew he had to come to a decision to do God’s work and eventually he went back to that path.

7. It Makes Us More Compassionate Towards Others In Trouble

This is key. Troubles creates testimony, strengthens character and ultimately brings awareness to the hardship that troubles bring. It allows Christians to be in a position to show compassion and extend a helping hand to people that are suffering, and potentially going through something we already have been through. There is always someone ahead of you and someone behind you. We have the opportunity to seek advice from people who have been through similar issues and overcome and also the privilege to help people who are going through issues we have gone through. That’s powerful for relationships!

All in all, troubles have the capacity to build, stretch, develop and strengthen our character. It also shakes up our lifestyles and reminds us that God is truly the only constant and that we need Him daily. What is your attitude when you face troubles? How do you respond? If you are currently going through something now, how are you responding and have you taken it to God?

James 1:2-5 – Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

(Note: The dot points are from Psalms 106 Study Notes of the ‘NIV Life Application Study Bible, elaborations are my own)

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