We are living in a time of great trouble. That’s not news, we all know that, no one would dispute it. But trouble is not new. It started in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve became rebels and ate of the forbidden fruit. They could no longer enjoy communion with God. They were under a curse. The ground was cursed, so it brought forth thorns and thistles. Man, by the sweat of his brow would eat his bread.
One of my grandsons was working with his father recently, pulling weeds. Being a bit frustrated with the job he asked his father, “Just what is the purpose of weeds?” Well, we have all experienced frustration with weeds, but they are here as part of the curse brought on Adam and his posterity because of sin.
Job 14:1 says, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.” There is trouble in sickness, loss of jobs, car wrecks, bad weather, crime, broken marriages and death. No one is exempt from trouble; we have all experienced it to some degree all our life.
But at the present we are facing additional troubles brought to the whole planet through Covid 19. Over 180,000 deaths reported in the United States, and thousands grieving the loss of their loved ones. Plans delayed or disrupted, uncertainties about school and careers. Then there are riots in the street, people killed, businesses burned down, jobs lost. You hear about these troubles every day, and although the media presents the news with a bias, you do know there is plenty of trouble.
Now the important question for us is how do we handle trouble, what is our reaction to this time of difficulty and confusion? Psalm 107 provides some insight. The word “trouble” is used four times as various scenes of difficulty are described. In each case when the trouble reached devastating proportions, the people then cried to the Lord. In some cases, He brought the trouble to an end, in others He simply delivered them from the distress which was weighing heavily on them. In each case the people are called on to praise the Lord for His goodness, and his wonderful works.
So, here are some basics we learn from this Psalm. First, recognize you need help; you can’t handle trouble by yourself. Secondly, call on the Lord because He is both willing and able to help you. Third, praise Him and give Him thanks for the blessing He provides. Psalm 107:1, “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”
When facing trouble, we tend to look for some unique solution or an escape hatch so we can immediately be finished with the trouble, and consequently overlook the plain instruction of scripture. Peter found it necessary to remind people of things they already knew. “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things though ye know them and be established in the present truth” (II Peter 1:12).
So, let’s think about some things we all know but may have neglected as we encountered trouble.
I. TRUST WITHOUT DOUBTING
A. God has promised to hear and help
1. Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.”
2. If we are trusting then we need not fear
B. Remember God is on the throne
1. You will hear it said we living in uncertain times.
2. From the human vantage point, life is always uncertain.
a. “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1).
3. But there is no uncertainty with God
a. Daniel 4:35, “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand or say unto him, What doest thou?”
b. All of God’s purposes are certain, all of God’s promises are certain.
4. To us it may appear that everything is in chaos, these are uncertain times, but with God everything is under control.
II. PRAY WITHOUT CEASING
A. We are admonished to pray
1. I Thess. 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”
2. Phil. 4:6, “in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
B. We pray to our Father
1. Matt. 6:9, “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”
a. What encouragement—we pray to the one who loves us, gave His Son for us, and has adopted us into His family.
C. Many things for which to pray
1. Matt. 6:10, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
a. Help me to learn when He as my loving Father chastens me.
2. Eph. 6:18, ”Pray for all saints”
3. I Thess. 3:1, “Pray that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified.”
a. That the gospel message will go forth in power.
b. The good news of salvation by grace through faith be powerfully proclaimed.
4. I Tim. 2:2, “Pray for kings and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
III. REJOICE WITHOUT COMPLAINING
A. It’s easy to complain
1. “I don’t like how Covid 19 has affected my schedule, my work, my education, my wedding plans, my vacation, my future.”
2. “I am tired of hearing about this Virus, I’m through with it.”
B. Complaining displeases God
1. I Cor. 10:5, “Now with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Vs. 10, Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.”
C. Recognize God’s hand in our trials
1. Job 19:21, “the hand of God hath touched me.”
2. Psa. 119:71. “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”
D. Rejoice in the Lord rather than complain
1. Because He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
2. Because He is he God of hope and the God of all comfort.
3. Because by grace He saves even the chief of sinners.
4. Because He promises never to leave us.
IV. RUN WITHOUT STOPPING
A. We have a race to run
1. Heb. 12:1, “let us run the race with patience (endurance) the race that is set before us.”
2. The Christian life is not depicted as a casual stroll but one of an intense race.
B. There is much to discourage us.
1. Heb. 12:1, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us.”
2. The weights
a. The whole country seems to be in a mess.
b. There is so much bitterness, violence.
c. Even in the Church there are differences that separate long-term friends.
d. All my plans fall apart—it’s disheartening.
e. I know I’m not where I ought to be in my spiritual growth.
f. Some of my personal struggles drag me down.
C. When beaten down by trouble you are like those in Psa. 107:26,”Their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end.”
D. But you can keep running
1. Heb. 12:2-3, “Looking unto Jesus the author (originator)and finisher (perfecter) of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”
a. He was looking ahead for the joy to come.
2. Gal. 6:9, “And be not weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.”
3. Isaiah 40: “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and shall walk, and not faint.”
So as we think about facing trouble, let’s remember:
- Trust Without Doubting
- Pray Without Ceasing
- Rejoice Without Complaining
- Run Without Stopping
Phil. 4:19, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”