Days of Trouble

Do you ever feel dazed by life or feel as though you are unable to cope with its many challenges? Life can be difficult.  Being a Christian in a non-Christian world presents all kinds of complications. Perhaps you have a daunting task that awaits you causing you to feel overburdened, or you find your toughest battles staring you in the face every day. Maybe it is even simpler than that it could be you just have too much to do, and not enough time and energy in the day to tackle everything, or at least what really needs to be done. Time, it is something we all treasure, something we wish we had more of, but it just seems to always slip away so quickly.

Often times a perplexing truth for many Christians is that even though we belong to God through faith in Christ; we have the same problems as we had before we came to Jesus, and sometimes even worse, we also experience the same troubles as do those of the world. When these thoughts, and feelings begin to creep in and they will, you will be happy to know that our society has a word for these types of feelings “overwhelmed”. In a society, that praises accomplishments, and seemingly taunts the mediocre, while ostracizing failures, we are often compelled to take on roles and responsibilities that we simply do not have the capacity to manage.

The Christian is, actually, in a battle with the world.  A world that even today remains at war with Jesus and His followers, more specifically — with you.  The world offers vices, self-fulfillment, and greed.  The world wants to convert you to its paganistic ways, to its ungodly devotion to the unholy. If you do not conform, if you do not bend your knee to its idols and sacrifices, you are ridiculed, mocked, and attacked. As a result, we often become disheartened and caught-up in the cares of this life. All throughout the bible, this problem seems to manifest itself the same way indicating God is well aware problems and worries are inevitable for all of us.

As the writer stated in Job 14:1 “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.”

It should come as no surprise the world is not for you, but against you.  The evil one is at war with you and in the battle you experience are all sorts of struggles.  On the inside, you wrestle with sin: pride, lust, greed, boasting, and various other desires.  Then on the outside, you brawl with illness, poverty, marital problems, job difficulties, an unsure future, and more. Even now, you may be facing a serious struggle. It could be you have recently had to deal with a difficult situation.  If none of this applies to you now, well, as the saying goes keep living trouble has a way of finding its way to your front door.

As a follower of Jesus, what do you do when life is coming down hard on you, when there seems to be no way out? When you are worried or afraid?  When you are in distress? What do you do when you are facing such monumental obstacles?  How do your resist temptation, flee from evil, or believe beyond your ability to understand how your problems can be solved? It is easy to say the words, but in reality for many turning it ALL over to God is easier said than done.

However, when we really begin to understand and listen, Jesus Himself in Matthew 6:25-34 pointed out that, in the end, worry and anxiety really accomplish little. “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life”…”Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” When you read Matthew 6:25-34 in its entirety Christ of course is not advocating irresponsibility in caring for our families and ourselves. He is pointing out that if we are doing, as we should and striving to please God, we can have faith that He will take care of us and see us through life’s many challenges and struggles. Because of this confidence in God, we need not worry or feel anxious.

Feelings come from thoughts, so, we should focus on changing how we think which will give us a different understanding in order to change how we feel. In Philippians 2:5, the Apostle Paul tells his readers “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Then in Philippians 4:8, Paul says to think on things that are “true,” “noble,” “just,” “pure,” “lovely,” “of good report,” and “praiseworthy.” The mind of Jesus in us is what we need to transform us. When our lives are running smoothly and devoid of trials, we have a tendency to rely upon our own human strength – strength that cannot compare in any way to God’s almighty, divine strength. This is a truth that Jesus knew, understood, and practiced always. Unfortunately, for most of us it is only when our life is beset with difficulties and storms, when our own strength fades completely away and we become weak that we turn more in the direction of God relying upon His divine strength to face and endure our storms.

The objective of trials and tribulation in this life is not to become strong as so many would have us believe. Rather the purpose is that we become totally dependent, to increasingly look to, and lean on God in all circumstances in every area of your life. There is a great misconception today regarding seasoned or mature followers of Jesus. Many believe mature followers are “Strong” having endured much. This is indeed true, but it is only because mature followers are constantly becoming more dependent on the strength of God to see them through whatever this life throws at them.

The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12: 10 wrote these words when he was struggling with an issue that he described as a ‘thorn in the flesh. “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” We do not know exactly what was troubling Paul, but the severity of this trial was obviously so terrible that it greatly weakened him.

When we are fully submerged in our own weakness only then do we really begin to rely fully upon God’s almighty strength instead of our own inadequate strength, then and only then are we strong. 

 God’s Peace

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