Our lives are filled with trouble. “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue” (Job 14:1-2). All of us have plenty of trouble. Trouble comes into the life of the young and old; the rich and poor; the wicked and righteous. Trouble is no respecter of persons for it enters into the house of everyone.
Many feel like the Psalmist, “The pains of death surrounded me, And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow” (Psa. 116:3). Concerning one trying to make a living, Solomon said, “For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity” (Eccl. 2:23). Many feel like those in Jeremiah’s day, “We looked for peace, but no good came; And for a time of health, and there was trouble!” (Jer. 8:15
Job was a righteous man – one that feared God and fled from evil. Also, he was a man that was very wealthy and “yet trouble came” (Job 3:26; KJV). Job lost his children, his wealth and his health. Job fell to the ground in worship and said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). Job’s friends expressed the view that he must have been guilty of some great sin to be punished by God so severely. But Job argued back that he was innocent. In the book of Job, God appears to Job and asked him a series of questions: 1) “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” 2) “Who shut up the seas with doors?” 3) “Have you entered into the springs of the sea?” 4) “Where is the way where light dwelleth?” 5) “Have you entered into the treasures of the snow?”
Job began to get the point and acknowledges that God has planned all these things and His plan is too wonderful for man to know it all. Job also realizes that the skill and power shown in fashioning the world and its inhabitants is also demonstrated in his life. The same God who made the zebra, giraffe, sea and earth is really at work in the lives of men. Job concludes that man should give obedience and worship to God in every circumstance in life – for the Almighty is the Creator and is still under control.
After God spoke to Job and Job repented of being overly bold in his words, He spoke to the friends of Job. God explained that His wrath was kindled against them. God instructed the three friends to have Job intercede in their behalf and this Job did. God blessed Job after his suffering and he had more at the end of his life than he did before his great trials. Job died an old man and full of life. The book of Job teaches that we should serve God because He is God. Some serve God only for what material blessings they think they can get. Satan raised the issue if man would serve God for naught. Job was willing to serve God regardless of the circumstances and so must we. We may not always at the time of suffering understand why it is happening. Suffering seems to be a part of the mystery of God’s providence. In the plan of the all-wise and loving Father there is a reason for life’s difficulties. We must put our trust in the Lord, for the Lord has promised through the apostle Paul that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
The apostle Paul was a great apostle of Jesus and yet much trouble came into his life (2 Cor. 11:23-28). Paul was wrongly placed in prison and upon his appeal to Caesar was sent to Rome. One might think that with Paul in prison in Rome his usefulness as a preacher would be over – but not so! “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel” (Phil. 1:12). Paul had for some time wanted to go to Rome and now he was there. Even though Paul was in prison, he wrote the famous “Prison Epistles” – Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. While in prison he had the opportunity to teach his guards which were changed on a regular basis and so the gospel was manifested in all the palace. He even sent greetings to Caesar’s house hold. Paul had learned a very important lesson, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Phil. 4:11). This is truly one of the great secrets to a happy and successful life. In the end, Paul knew he had won (2 Tim.
Trials make us stronger – “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (Jam. 1:2-4). You cannot sharpen an axe on velvet and you cannot sharpen a Christian on ease; we need the grindstone! Not only do we need trials, but God knows we also need chastisement from time to time. Though chastisement if grievous at the time, is good for us. The Hebrew writer declares, “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives…For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:5-6, 11; ESV).
There are many troubles which we will face if we live very long. We will be opposed and persecuted as Christians. This at times is very painful. But remember, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). We may be betrayed by friends – Jesus was. We may be tried by financial troubles like the loss of a job, failure to get a promotion, or have a business backset. There may be lying tongues and vicious people trying to ruin your reputation. There are times when we run into the walls of sickness or death, and must pick ourselves up with God’s help.
Beloved, When trouble comes we must have the attitude of Isaiah, “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, For in YAH [that is, the Lord, most vehement; Strongs], the LORD, is everlasting strength” (Isa. 26:3-4). “But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint” (Isa. 40:31).
Yes trouble comes, but we can overcome with the Lord’s help. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev. 3:21). In other words, let the one who overcomes come over.
“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”