In Time of Trouble
The people of God, although saved from their sins, are not immune from difficulties as they live out their lives here below. The Psalmist spoke of troublous times and he had his share of them. Christ told His disciples, “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33), and they certainly did. At the same time however the Lord assured His chosen ones of His peace and encouraged them to consider the victory which He was to accomplish at Calvary.
Christians today are in the same situation. Some believers stumble because their experience does not match their expectation. They are confident in God as their Father, in Christ as their Saviour and in the Spirit as their Comforter: accordingly they hope for an easy path to glory – but find that their way is far from smooth. We have seasons when we ascend mount Pisgah and get a sight of the promised land – but we also have seasons when we descend into the valley of Baca and our eyes are filled with tears. Scripture must be our guide from here to heaven.
As Christians we may encounter situations which try our belief in the goodness of God. Providences such as poverty, sickness and bereavement can do that. When such things come upon us we are tempted to murmur and to complain against the Lord on account of His dealings, imagining that we could arrange things so much better!
Whatever bitter things are in our cup they do not match what was endured by Job. When he suffered a sore loss he still worshipped God, recognising His sovereignty over all things: “the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). He was wonderfully submissive to the Most High, saying: “shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? (Job 2:10). Job is an outstanding example of the sufficiency of divine grace.
We may also find ourselves facing conflict as Christians. In the “last days” we are promised “perilous times” (2Tim.3:1). Satan must have his “little season” before he meets his end (Rev.20:3,10) and we are seeing something of it now. Spiritual deception is rampant. As people are increasingly ignorant of the Bible and our national history the Church of Rome is reasserting herself, persuading many that she represents true Christianity. Our duty is to make a stand in an evil day and not to leave our ground; we are to lift up a banner for the sake of the truth (Psa.60:4). When we do so we may expect opposition, even persecution.
Perhaps you wonder as a believer, How long will my present trial last? If only I knew the outcome of it things would be so much easier to bear! But when Daniel asked the same he was told, “Go thy way, Daniel” (Dan.12:9). He was to be obedient to God, devote himself to His service, trust in His covenant faithfulness – and be patient.
God is training up His children for their eternal inheritance. In our difficulties we pour out our hearts to Him and we enjoy His help; God does not spare us from trouble but promises to deliver us out of it when we cry to Him. And we may say that all the warfare and all the waiting of the believer is worth it: one moment spent in the nearer presence of our King will more than compensate for all the troubles we had in this life. May the Lord enable you to be strong for Him and for His cause.