"I've heard there are troubles of more than one kind; some come from ahead, and some come from behind. But I've brought a big bat. I'm all ready, you see; now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!" (Dr. Seuss) Could it be that maybe some of us just need a bigger bat? I pose that question because it seems like there are some in our lives who just don't ever seem to get past or away from those problems which "come from ahead" or "come from behind". It could even be one of us who just doesn't ever get truly "free" of the things which have come as "troubles of more than one kind". I challenge us not to think about those troubles, but the size of the bat we have been given to help us deal with them once and for all!
When the upright need help and cry to the Eternal, He hears their cries and rescues them from all of their troubles. (Psalm 34:17 VOICE)
Peter Marshall had a great perspective on the troubles which come in life: "God will not permit any troubles to come to us, unless he has a specific plan by which great blessing can come out of the difficulty." Re-read that if you must because there is something quite profound in that statement - God has a specific plan by which GREAT blessing can come OUT of the difficulty. The greatness is found IN the difficulty, not by avoiding it. In the midst of troubles coming from ahead or coming from behind, we find ourselves kind of "sandwiched" in the middle, and this makes for a whole lot of squeezing! This is perhaps why we don't like troubles very much - it isn't the thing which come out of them which we so much resist as it is the amount of "squeezing" it takes to get the blessing out!
Troubles vary in scale from things which mildly irritate us and give us a moment of grief, to the type which almost crushes us under the weight of the thing. The first type of "inconveniences" we deal with, probably on a daily basis, such as traffic jams on the way to work. The middle of the road types of troubles may be those things we wish no one would ever have to deal with such as the loss of a job, or death of a much loved pet. Then there are the really hard ones, like the diagnosis of cancer, or the loss of a loved one. Life is indeed filled with troubles which "come from ahead" and "come from behind", but the outcome will be different depending on what we keep in the forefront of our mind. Yes, I just got a little "Dr. Seuss" on you and made that one rhyme! Our mind can be filled with doubt, fear, frustration, and the like. If peace is not what fills our mind in the midst of trouble, we aren't carrying the "right bat"!
In the words of the great hymn penned by Horatio G. Spafford, "When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul. It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul." Peace attends our soul - it watches over our minds - steadies our raging emotions - and floods our hearts with overwhelming joy. No matter the trouble, the thing we use to deal with them is what makes the difference. As Seuss said, the bat he carried gave him an "edge" over the troubles. The "bat" we carry in life is none other than that of the peace of Christ which rules our hearts and minds, bringing comfort to our soul and strength to our body. Peace is not a "thing", but a person - Christ. It is not the absence of chaos, but the presence of God bringing order out of that chaos.
The next time troubles approach you from ahead or behind, remember who it is who stands clearly in your defense at that moment of great trouble! You might just find those troubles begin to reveal what is being "pressed out" by their pressures from all sides. Just sayin!