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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Troubled Waters


Take a good look at my trouble, and help me—I haven't forgotten your revelation.  Take my side and get me out of this; give me back my life, just as you promised. 
(Psalm 119:153-154 The Message)

We probably have heard the say, "It is Trouble, with a capital T".  Trouble is different for everyone.  Some of us seem to "find it" without even looking.  Others seem to "make it" as though it were some natural outcome of everything we do.  Still others seem to do everything they can to "avoid it", regardless of the cost.  

When I looked up the word "trouble", I came across the very first definition and stopped to ponder it a while.  Take a moment to think on this:  Trouble is to disturb the mental calm or contentment of; to worry; bring distress; or agitate.  Hmmm....in the Hebrew language, we'd put a "Selah" after this so as to "stop and consider" what this says to us.

First, when we sense "trouble" coming our way, or having already arrived on our doorsteps, we have the sense that our mental "calm" is being attacked.  We just begin to "feel" the stress of the "trouble" bringing a lack of peace, working on our pleasant state of contentment we had come to enjoy so much.  Here's what I have learned:  We don't need to open the door!  Trouble only has access to our mental state when we "open the door" to it!  

If we leave someone on the doorstep of our home, they don't have the ability to create havoc on the inside!  Oh, they can keep pounding on the door, trying to gain access, but in a while, their continual efforts will prove only to have created a little unwanted "noise" in our lives!  It is much easier to filter out the "noise" of trouble than to deal with the "setting right" of the mental anguish it creates! 

How do we "not open the door" to trouble's play on our minds?  Well, in moments when we are feeling like we are beginning to "wind up" or "lose our peace", we need to pull into those things that "re-create" peace in our lives.  I find the times I spend in the Word, listening to good music, and reflecting on God's care over my life as "peace-producing".  You may find the effort of keeping the door "closed" to the mental anguish of trouble is easiest when you are listening to the voice of God's peace-producing Spirit!

Next, when we find "trouble" in our circumstances, there comes a moment when we begin to feel the "stress" of the trouble.  Stress serves a purpose in our lives, when it is recognized and utilized to its advantages!  That which is stressed is that which is proven strong.  If we embrace trouble's distress, we probably have not gone to God for his "de-stressing"!

Last, but definitely not least, trouble works hard to agitate our calm.  In the disturbance of our calm, "muck and mire" is allowed to bubble to the surface.  Sometimes, this is not a bad thing, because exposure of what has "settled" to the recesses of our mind or emotions can actually be a benefit.  In the discovery of what lays hidden below, we often can be released from those things.

Water is actually "filtered" through an "agitation" process.  If you ever were in the scouts, military, or just hiked/camped a lot, someone told you about drinking from the fast moving streams, not the slow, lolly-gagging ones.  Why?  Water in the fast-moving stream was "freer" of impurities!  So, agitation serves a purpose!  Embraced for its designed purpose, there is a benefit to the agitation of trouble!

Just some thoughts on what may be "troubling" you today!