You're In Trouble? Thank God...
One time, during my sophomore year in college, I had a class with a very grumpy professor. He was Bible-phobic in every sense of the word—that’s someone who portrays negativity towards the Christian religion. Usually I could ignore it because he obviously wasn’t a Christian so his childish and misguided opinion of my faith didn’t shake me. But one thing he said did catch my attention one day.
He stood at the front of the class and said very angrily, “People always thank God when something good happens to them. I never hear anyone thanking God when they fall into debt, or get cancer. What a coincidence, when it’s good it’s God, when it’s bad it’s just life.”
The rest of the Bible-phobic students in class nodded in agreement, all of them completely unaware that they were being offensive and rude. Funny how you can say whatever you want about religion but mention race, gender, or sexuality and the guy probably would’ve been fired.
That statement got me thinking, because there is some truth to that. A lot of beginner Christians, or people who merely wear the Christian title, thank God proudly and loudly whenever something good happens in their lives but as soon as things turn bad they’ve got nothing to say.
My response to that is this, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” James 1:2-3 KJV
The bare bones meaning of that scripture is to praise God for your troubles. It may not literally mean to stand up and give a wonderful testimony about how you discovered a lump in your breast this morning—joy! Or how you’re so happy that you were finally fired, who cares about making rent this month, right?
I saw a quote on Facebook this morning, “Robbers don’t break into empty houses. You’re facing trouble because you have something great inside of you!”
I think that’s an amazing interpretation of the scripture by Paul. He may not have literally meant that you should jump for joy and pray for transgressions but that you shouldn’t be shaken because troubled waters are a sign of growth. The enemy only comes after you when you have something worth taking. Trouble has a purpose.
That might sound weird to say, so many Christians believe that their lives are supposed to be cheery and free of issues. That’s a very ignorant way to view our faith. While God will take care of all of our troubles, He will come to our defense if we call on Him, He did say trouble would come. If Jesus, the Son of God, the King of all Kings, faced trouble here on earth then what makes you think you won’t?
Trouble serves more purpose than strengthening your faith. It also gives God the opportunity to demonstrate his power.
Ask yourself this, how do you know God is your provider if you’ve never needed anything?
How do you know God is a healer if you’ve never been sick?
How can you testify that Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother if you’ve never been lonely?
You have to be put in certain situations to realize certain sides of God. But that doesn’t mean we will all face the same issues. Some people will never face financial troubles but do we only need money from God? Some people will never face health problems, but is our body the only thing that ever needs healing?—how about a broken heart? Or even a psychologically troubled mind?
That scripture is supposed to be a reminder of how to handle trouble, a pick-me-up if you will. Thank God when you face trouble because that’s a sign that you’re heading in the right direction. But wait … not every trouble you face is a sign of your growth. Sometimes we get ourselves into these sticky situations. Sometimes we mess up on our own and cause these problems by ourselves—sometimes it has nothing to do with our faith. That doesn’t mean that God can’t use that situation though.
When Abraham grew impatient and had Ishmael, his actions brought on more problems because that wasn’t part of God’s plan. But God still used Ishmael as a beacon light.
When David carried out his scandalous one-night-stand with Bathsheba he faced the wrath of God, but King Solomon—the product of his temptation—became the wisest and the richest man to walk this earth. Well, wisest aside from Jesus.
My point is, not all trouble is a test of your faith BUT God can still demonstrate his mercy and his power in those troubles as well.
Either way it goes, have faith in every situation you face because whether you bring the trouble or the enemy moves against you on their own—God is still there, ready for battle.