* Troubles may be testing your faith or character
When famine struck, Abram went to Egypt where there was food. Why would there be a famine in the land where God had just called Abram? These troubles were a test of Abram’s faith, and Abram passed. He didn’t question God’s leading when facing his troubles. Many believers find that when they determine to follow God, they immediately encounter great obstacles, troubles. The next time you face such a test, don’t try to second-guess what God is doing. Use the intelligence God gave you, as Abram did when he temporarily moved to Egypt, and wait for new opportunities. (NLT)
Genesis 12:10 – At that time there was a severe famine in the land, so Abram went down to Egypt to wait it out.
* Lying only brings more trouble
Sarah lied because she was afraid of being discovered. Fear is the most common motive for lying. We are afraid that our inner thoughts and emotions will be exposed or our wrongdoings discovered. But lying causes greater complications than telling the truth and brings even more problems. If God can’t be trusted with our innermost thoughts and fears, we are in greater rouble than we first imagined. (NLT)
Genesis 18:15 – Sarah was afraid, so she denied that she had laughed. But he said, “That is not true. You did laugh.”
* See troubles as opportunities for growth
God reminded Jacob of his new name, Israel, which meant “one who struggles with God.” Although Jacob’s life was littered with difficulties and trials, his new name was a tribute to his desire to stay close to God despite life’s disappointments.
Many people believe that Christianity should offer a problem-free life. Consequently, as life gets tough, they draw back disappointed. Instead, they should determine to prevail with God through life’s storms. Problems, troubles, and difficulties are painful but inevitable; you might as well see them as opportunities for growth. You can’t prevail with God unless you have troubles to prevail over. (NLT)
Genesis 35:10 – and said, “Your name is no longer Jacob; you will now be called Israel.”
* Finding hope in troubles
The verses show what God meant when he said he is slow to anger. Even if the Israelites chose to disobey and were scattered among their enemies, God would still give them the opportunity to repent and return to him. His purpose was not to destroy them, but to help them grow. Our day-to-day experiences, troubles, and hardships are sometimes overwhelming; unless we can see that God’s purpose is to bring about continual growth in us, we may despair. The hope we need is well expressed in Jeremiah 29:11, 12. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen.'” To retain hope while we suffer shows we understand God’s merciful ways of relating to his people. (NLT)
Leviticus 26:40-45 – “But at last my people will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors for betraying me and being hostile toward me. Finally, when I have given full expression to my hostility and have brought them to the land of their enemies, then at last their disobedient hearts will be humbled, and they will pay for their sins. Then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, with Isaac, and with Abraham, and I will remember the land. And the land will enjoy its years of Sabbath rest as it lies deserted. At last the people will receive the due punishment for their sins, for they rejected my regulations and despised my laws.
“But despite all this, I will not utterly reject or despise them while they are in exile in the land of their enemies. I will not cancel my covenant with them by wiping them out. I, the Lord, and their God. I will remember my ancient covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of Egypt while all the nations watched. I, the Lord, am their God.”
* Don’t question God’s goodness in troubles
Many people think that believing in God protects them from trouble, so when calamity comes, they question God’s goodness and justice. But the message of Job is that you should not give up on God because he allows you to have bad experiences. Faith in God does not guarantee personal prosperity and lack of faith does not guarantee troubles in this life. If this were so, people would believe in God simply to get rich. God is capable of rescuing us from suffering, but he may also allow suffering to come for reasons we cannot understand. It is Satan’s strategy to get us to doubt God at exactly this moment. Here Job shows a perspective broader than seeking his own personal comfort. If we always knew why we were suffering, our faith would have no room to grow. (NLT)
Job 2:10 – But Job replied, “You talk like a godless woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.
* Your life is not too complex for God
Do you ever feel that your life is too complex for God to understand? Remember, God created the entire universe, and nothing is too difficult for him. God created you; he is alive today, and his love is bigger than any problem you may face. (NLT)
John 1:3-5 – He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn’t make. Life itself was in him, and this life gives light to everyone. the light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
* Jesus controls the storms of life
Although the disciples had witnessed many miracles, they panicked in this storm. As experienced sailors, they knew its danger; what they did not know was that Christ could control the forces of nature. We often encounter storms in our life, where we feel God can’t or won’t work. When we truly understand who God is, however, we will realize that he controls both the storms of nature and the storms of the troubled heart. Jesus’ power that calmed this storm can also help us deal with the problems we face. Jesus is wiling to help if we only ask him. We should never discount his power even in terrible trials. (NLT)
Matthew 8:25 – The disciples went to him and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
* God pays attention to those who call on him in times of trouble
Whether God offers escape from trouble or help in times of trouble, we can be certain that He always hears and acts on behalf of those who love him.
We often wish we could escape troubles—the pain of grief, loss, sorrow, and failure, or even the small daily frustrations that constantly wear us down. God promises to be “close to the brokenhearted” and be our source of power, courage, and wisdom, helping us through our problems. Sometimes he chooses to deliver us from those problems. When trouble strikes, don’t get frustrated with God. Instead, admit that you need God’s help and thank him for being by your side. (NLT)
Psalm 34:17-18 – The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit.
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