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Summary: A message of the overarching character of the love and providence of God working in the life of His child in times of trouble.

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HOW CAN WE SURVIVE TROUBLE?

"For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isa. 55:8-9)

"Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward. (Job 5:6-7)

"Man [that is] born of a woman [is] of few days, and full of trouble." (Job 14:1)

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose." (Ro. 8:28)

God has never guaranteed Christians immunity from trouble. Although Jesus said we could come to Him to have life more abundantly, He wasn’t inferring that life would be a rose garden or that we would be borne to heaven on flowery beds of ease. The person was right who said life wasn’t meant to be easy.

But just why is this so? Jesus says that in this world we shall have trouble. We are, as the writers of the New Testament said, in the world, but are not of the world. This world is not our home. We are just sojourners, pilgrims, seeking a city whose builder and maker is God. Paul envisioned us a colonizers of planet earth in the Phillipian letter. And as ambassadors and living love letters from heaven in his Corinthian letters. As the old saying goes, we are cannot hold on to God with one hand and the world with the other. We cannot be neutral, Jesus said. "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Matt. 6:24) God is asking us to take a stand for Him in this world. You see, Jesus called it like it was. He hewed right down the line. He surely would upset the proponents of a wishy-washy, mealy-mouthed, power of the positive gospel today.

The tug of the world and the pull of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God in opposite directions guarantees inevitable trouble for a Christian. Experientially, we can all confirm the veracity of Job’s statement: "Man is born for trouble." He’s often caught up in the geography of circumstance and finds himself surrounded by the meteorology trouble. He frequently feels the heat of the crucible of crisis. He’s dropped into the test tube of trial. He’s called upon to navigate the shoals of loss and sorrow. He tries desperately to avoid the rocks of spiritual shipwreck and disaster.

Sometimes the storms of life arise from within. Sometimes terrible squalls blow up over the horizon of friendship. A cyclone will be howling before he has half a chance to batten down his personal hatches. It can come from any quarter. Natural disasters, accidents, enemies, strangers, family, so-called Christian brothers or even his church. He too often finds the old cliche, "Hell is people," too close to the mark. Because people are often the tool Satan uses to overwhelm him. So often he finds there is no easy way to build a detour around sorrow or tragedy. He must go through and in order to come out safely on the other side. The three Hebrew children were not saved out of the fiery furnace, but in it and through it. The lives of Daniel, David and all the patriarchs of the Old and New Testaments confirm the universality of this dilemma and the purifying experiences that often result form it.


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