Your Two Options in Time of Trouble

Guidelines for Living Daily Devotional

April 4, 2019

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.  John 16:33 

 

"If I can just get through this problem, I'm sure that everything will be okay."  Ever think that?  So you grit your teeth and, sure enough, you get through that problem, only to find that several more have cropped up on the horizon.  It's something like pedaling a bicycle.  Going uphill is so slow and takes so much energy, while the downhill run so quickly turns into another uphill climb.

Long ago Jesus said, "In the world you will have trouble" (John 16:33), and in saying that Jesus was merely making a statement of how things are and will be until He comes to establish His kingdom.

The Chinese character for crisis is a combination of two characters which stand for danger and opportunity.  Interesting!  Both are involved when you are confronted with a problem.

"If I can just get through this problem...." Now, there's nothing wrong in getting through that one problem before you tackle the next one, but getting through the immediate one won't be the end of challenges.

The word which we translate "worry" or "anxiety" in the New Testament is an interesting word.  Paul used the word when he described his care or concern for the churches, a legitimate area of concern, but he also uses the word when he talks about not being overwhelmed by the immediate problem--but rather to pray about that and commit it to the Lord (see Philippians 4:6).

That Greek word for worry, merimna, comes from a verb which means "to be drawn in different directions," or to be distracted to the point of really being worked up over a situation.  Do you ever find yourself in that position, where your head and your heart don't tell you the same things?   Your head says, "That problem is a pretty big one which confronts you!" and your heart says, "God is bigger than this problem, and I think that I can trust Him."  You are drawn or pulled two different ways.  The end result–worry.

When I am confronted with a situation such as I have just described, I've learned that I generally decide how it's going to be–whether I give in to what my head says and worry, or I yield to the inner witness of the Spirit in my heart which says, "Trust God!"

Paul Tournier, the Swiss psychiatrist who touched a generation with his common-sense observations, says that the most powerful and unused gift from God is choice.  That observation is one which comes from the pages of God's Word, the Bible, and in this whole matter, it is you–not circumstances, or fate, or the enemies of your soul–who do the choosing.  You do! The choice is worry or trust. Commitment or vacillation. Progress or losing ground.  Making decisions or having decisions made for you. Walking with the Lord, or walking alone in the dark.

"In the world you will have trouble," said Jesus.  But He didn't stop there, for if He had, the future would be pretty bleak.  He continued, saying, "But take heart!  I have overcome the world" (John 16:33), and those words tell me that He not only walks with me as I take the upward climb, but He's on the other side to welcome me as well.  He's been there!  "If I can just get through this problem!"  Frankly, that's not the proper point of focus.  Rather, concentrate on finding His strength and power and learning from the experience you are working through right now.

In his book Why Us?Warren Wiersbe tells of a blind girl who was struggling with some tough issues, who turned to him and said, "Pray that I won't waste all of this suffering!"  That was a woman who saw God's purpose in the upward climb. So can you, friend, no matter where you are on the incline of life.

Resource reading: 2 Corinthians 6: 1-13.


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