Showing posts with the label Troubles

At the end of my comfort zone

God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) Have you ever wondered why we go 'through' troubles instead of avoiding them all together? Jesus went through a lot of stuff while he fulfilled his ministry on this earth, not avoiding even some of the worst things a person could endure. If he didn't, what makes us think we should? Maybe the reason for going 'through' those troubles is so we can do what Jesus did - help others as they face similar troubles. It is quite possible God is making a way for us to be the hands and feet of Jesus to others as they face similar trials and troubles. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us to consider where a man stands 'at times of challenge and controversy', not so much where he stands in times of comfort. I believe where we turn, who we loo

What is the lesson here?

 What exactly do hard times teach us? Many would say it helps us develop a deeper trust in God - at least, that is what they believe to be the most 'biblical' answer and the one we want to hear. Truth be told, there are more times in the wilderness of hardship that we are struggling with why we are there, what God expects us to learn, and how we are going to deal with the issues we are facing. We might not even think about God's purpose in allowing the hardship until we are waist deep in the muck and mire of it all!  I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely. (Psalm 63:6-8) If we consider the words of our psalmist here, you will observe a couple of pretty 'emotion filled' comments: "I lie awake" and "I cling to you". Something is keeping David awake - he is likely wrestling with some of the things

Has God gone silent?

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief. (Psalm 22:1-2) I think we have all been in that place at one time or another where we find ourselves actually thinking God has somehow abandoned us. The circumstances suggest the worst is about to happen, we begin to whirl out of control emotionally, our thoughts are running rampant from one perception to the next, and we somehow feel like we are in it all alone. When we don't IMMEDIATELY see the answer to the circumstances, we might just begin to doubt God will lend any help, all our calls for help seemingly falling on deaf ears. Are we wrong to express our doubts or 'struggle of faith' in those moments? Absolutely not! God doesn't 'ding us' for our moments of doubt - he uses them to strengthen or deepen our faith. It is never wrong to seek to understand why such dif

A cut path

My troubles turned out all for the best—they forced me to learn from your textbook. (Psalm 119:71) To disturb the mental calm and contentment of an individual is indeed an unfortunate state of affairs. To constantly worry, be in distress, feel agitated or stirred up is a terrible place to find oneself. There are a whole lot of things in this life that annoy the stuffing right out of us. One trouble upon another will wear us down. If you have ever observed a stone 'grooved' by a constant drip of water, you may not know exactly when the 'erosion' happens, but it does! We never really know what "drop of water" will actually be the first to begin the "groove", nor do we know when the last drop will accomplish its work, do we? We have lots of tiny drops, all working away to "cut a groove" across our lives, trying desperately to divert the waters in a totally different direction. The seemingly impervious stone is eventually eroded away by the &

Anyone facing adversity?

A healthy spirit conquers adversity , but what can you do when the spirit is crushed? (Proverbs 18:14) To be pressed or squeezed with such a force so as to destroy or deform - anyone know what that feels like? It feels like you are being forced out by pressing, so that you will eventually break. Sometimes people don't see my fascination in the study of words, but when we take a little time to explore the various meanings of a word, we often begin to ponder things we might have missed before. This is especially true when it comes to understanding the Word of God. The "words" God chose to share with us in the pages of our Bible are not by chance - they are selected for their meaning. Therefore, getting the most out of the Word of God often requires us to be open to considering the meaning of the words chosen to express a certain matter of thought or instruction. I have some friends who have been through tremendous pressures this past year, and others who are beginning t

Trouble me

It was Eleanor Roosevelt who authored the words, "Only a man's character is the real criterion of worth." She also said, "People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built." Without experience, life builds no character - it is meaningless and hollow. We need to experience things - it is how we create, give way to new ideas, and learn from each other. Not every experience will be what we label as "rewarding" - but it can be "meaningful" if we learn from that experience! If we learn, we are likely developing something within our character that sticks with us in the long run. Character is what remains after all the "hoopla" of the experience dies down! We have been made right with God because of our faith. So we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through our faith, Christ has brought us into that blessing of God’s grace that we now enjoy. And we are very happy be

Rotate and Align

There is a lovely Christian song by the group 'We Are Messengers' that absolutely catches my heart each time I hear it played on the radio. The words are from the song "Magnify", and they begin with the words: " I've been trying to make sense of the sorrow that I feel, holding onto for life to the only thing that's real. I've only scratched the surface; I've barely had a taste, but just a glimpse draws my heart to change; and one side of you lays my sin to waste. I don't need to see everything, just more of you ." How many of us go through our days just trying to figure out some emotional "sense" we have been experiencing - a sorrow of some kind? I daresay it is far more than might want to admit it. The fact is evident - we all suffer some type of sorrow that kind of hangs us up a while - if only because of our own sinfulness. At those moments, we need to remember one thing - we don't need to understand it all, but we do nee

Take this

Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. ( Galatians 6:2   ERV ) In other translations you might find "burdens" in place of troubles. Either way, we are to be there for each other - regardless of the burden or the thing that troubles our mind, soul, or spirit. A burden is something that is "carried" - it can be a load, but it can also be what some feel in the sense of what is described as the "onus" to do something or be a certain way. The task some of us are trying to do is more of an obligation than a desire. This may be because someone imposed it upon us, or we committed to something we later would come to regret. The "burdens" we carry can be quite hard for us and God's plan isn't that we remain "under" those burdens - but that we help each other out with them. Sometimes the greatest "help" we can be is to set someone free from the sense of "obligation"

Rice cake living

The  Lord  tells his secrets to his followers. He teaches them about his agreement. I always look to the  Lord  for help. Only he can free me from my troubles. ( Psalm 25:14-15   ERV ) Another word for "agreement" is a much more formal one - covenant. It is always made between at least two parties, one of which is obligated to certain actions. In this case, God is the one who covenants with us - he is the one obligated to continually take certain actions based upon his unyielding love and unending grace. Our part in the agreement is to follow his teaching - to adhere to the principles that actually provide boundaries that will keep us safe. All of God's teachings contained within the scripture, even the bad stuff about those who chose not to adhere to them, is put there so we can learn to walk within these boundaries. God uses example to teach as much as he uses words. He knows we often learn best when we can see it lived out in someone's life. This means we also

Happy Hearts

5   We have been made right with God because of our faith. So we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.   2  Through our faith, Christ has brought us into that blessing of God’s grace that we now enjoy. And we are very happy because of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory. 3  And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that these troubles make us more patient.   4  And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope.   5  And this hope will never disappoint us. We know this because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts through the Holy Spirit he gave us. (Romans 5:1-5 ERV) Almost no one equates troubles or problems as some 'thing' they are to treasure, much less enjoy! In fact, we do all we can to avoid troubles - even creating "troubleshooting guides" in every user manual for items from small appliances to gigantic industrial machines. We want to know 'what'

Trouble equals Training

I wonder how many of us could agree with this equation: Trouble = Training Most of us equate "training" to the efforts we put forth to AVOID trouble - such as when we work out at the gym or take regular walks in order to keep our hearts healthy and avoid heart disease.  Very few of us will actually equate the present "trouble" we might be experiencing as a way of "training" either our minds, bodies, or spirits.   God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s  training , the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly  live ? While we were children, our parents did what  seemed  best to them. But God is doing what  is  best for us, training us to live God’s

One tiny drop's creative energy

Troubles:  To disturb the mental calm and contentment; worry, distress; agitate or stir up so as to make turbid; to put to inconvenience, exertions, or pains; to annoy, vex, or bother.  There are a whole lot of things in this life which just annoy the stuffing right out of us.  I was speaking with one of our surgeons this week when she gave an illustration to me which really struck a chord with me.  She was frustrated over something which did not work that day - the water pressure was down in one of the sinks, so it had to be fixed.  It caused some inconvenience, but it did not "stop the show", so to speak.  Yet, her illustration spoke volumes.  She said, "It takes just one tiny drop of water after another to eventually wear a groove in a stone".  What she was saying was one trouble upon another was wearing her (and others in her same career) down - things like demands for time which never seemed to be enough to go around anyway, challenges with the practice which j

Not another envelope!

If you have ever felt hemmed in, you would probably admit it feels like you are so confined you cannot possibly break free.  You might liken the feeling to something like being placed inside an envelope which is just a little too small for the contents, but crushed to the point the edges are just about to burst - so tightly sealed in by the edges of this envelope.  If you have ever tried to open one of these "too tightly packed" envelopes, you probably recognize the difficulty it is to not affect the contents when you are working to expose them.  The same is true in our lives - we might just be so tightly "packed", afraid there will be damage if anyone even comes close to trying to open us up.  The good news is found in understanding the purpose of the envelope. We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtu