Eliphaz, one of Job’s “comforters,” hit the nail with his head when he said,
6 For affliction does not come from the dust,
nor does trouble sprout from the ground,
7 but man is born to trouble
as the sparks fly upward. Job 5:6 – 7
It’s true. We generally do not have to go looking for trouble, trouble will find us without any help. The good news, as stated in my last post, is that we are at the mercy of no one but God. Therefore, depending on how we respond, we can actually disarm trouble when it comes knocking and turn it from a stumbling block into a stepping stone.
Paul Must Have Been Crazy
The apostle Paul gives us the key to disarming trouble in 1st Thessalonians 5:18.
Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. Amplified Bible
There it is, plain and simple. In everything, no matter what it may be, give thanks to God.
“Did Paul really mean that?” you ask.
“Was he crazy?”
Actually he wasn’t. But there are a couple of things you have to know, things that Paul likely knew, for this exhortation to make sense.
The first thing we need to know is that trouble is an invitation to get to know the Lord on a higher level. I believe it was the late Watchman Nee who said, “God can only be know through adversity.” We can see the truth in this statement when we think about it like this.
We could never know God as Comforter unless we needed His comfort.
We could never know God as Deliverer unless we needed Him to deliver us.
We could never know the Lord as our Strength unless we were experiencing weakness.
Only through lack could we ever come to know the Lord as our Provider.
The list could go on endlessly, but I think the point is made.
When trouble is viewed as an invitation to become acquainted with the Lord in a deeper way, we can start looking at it as a blessing instead of a curse and actually give thanks for it. This disarms it of its negative influence and sets in on a different footing where it can actually take you up instead of taking you down.
Besides being an invitation to know the Lord in a greater way, trouble is also an opportunity to see God at work. Think about the times in the Bible when God’s power was demonstrated. It was almost always when people were in the middle of difficult circumstances.
It was when there was no food and water that Israel got to see God’s power of supply in bringing manna from Heaven or water from the rock.
The nation of Israel got to see the greatest demonstrations of the Lord’s power to bring them victory only when faced with armies bigger and badder than they were.
It was in the midst of sick and oppressed society that Jesus demonstrated His power to heal.
We can give thanks in the midst of anything troublesome when we see the opportunity it provides. We can actually have a sense of anticipation as we look for God’s activity on our behalf. People will think we are crazy, but let them think what they will. Living this way is far better than constantly having the doldrums over things not going our way.
Look Over It’s Shoulder
Then next time trouble comes knocking at your door, look over its shoulder at the God who is above and beyond it all. Lift your hands and give thanks for the opportunity to become acquainted with the Lord on a new level. Raise your voice in thanksgiving for the opportunity to see God display His power on your behalf. You will never look at trouble the same way again. Trouble suddenly doesn’t seem so troublesome to those who know how to live in the Reign.