Troubles Are the Norm
By Anne Peterson
We sat around a table in Germany, at the Hospitality House. It was a weekly Bible study for servicemen and their families. On a tape recording, Charles Swindoll said “We look at life with the mindset our difficult circumstances are the exceptions, that somehow, life should be easier. But troubles are really the normal part of our lives.”
We were made for heaven.
Have you ever felt like you don’t belong here? Many years ago, as a new Christian, I remember singing a hymn that said we were pilgrims. I thought, I’m not a pilgrim, this is my home. But as the years kept passing by, I understood. This is not our home, but one day we will go home. We have desires that will not be satisfied till heaven, that’s what we were made for. And instead of trying to satisfy those desires with things around us, we would be wise to read God’s Word to find out what God says about this world and the one to come.
No one likes struggles.
In all my years of being a Christ follower, I have never met anyone who said, “I love trials and struggles.” When Jesus walked this earth, he didn’t love the hard times, he endured them. Often Jesus had to pull back and go off by himself because of the weight of living on this earth. So, what did he do? He spent time talking with God. And he came away from those times refreshed and renewed. If Jesus, the Son of God, needed to get renewed, how much more do we need that same thing?
Platitudes don’t help.
For most of my life I’ve heard platitudes that do not help when someone is struggling. Platitudes like, well you know, God helps those who help themselves. You won’t find that in the Bible. Thankfully, God helps us when we are unable to help ourselves. To be clear, I’m not saying we should just sit, doing nothing. There are times we are to wait on God (Psalm 27:14, and Isaiah 30:18). But there are also times when God will lead us. Times when we need to apply what we’ve read in God’s Word. I believe the red sea would have never parted if they didn’t lift their feet to walk into it.
God tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6 to trust in the Lord, to acknowledge him and he will make our paths straight, or in another version it says God will direct our steps. That is talking about us moving in a direction.
God does give us more than we can handle.
So often people have misused the verse 1 Corinthians 10:13, which talks about how we will never be tempted above what we can handle, and they will say that means we’ll never be given more than we can handle. Without being in situations that are too big for us, how would we ever learn to lean on God? Of all the Crosswalk articles I’ve written, I got a lot of pushbacks about this one. You can read it here.
Jesus told us we would have troubles.
Accepting that we will have troubles in this life has been very liberating. It makes me more grateful for the quiet, peaceful times, knowing there will be trials as well. Times when things don’t go as planned, or when I get bad news or hear of a loved one who is ill. Times that will bring me to my knees. But the good news is, we are not alone in the hard times. God said so. And God is not a man that he should lie (Numbers 23:19). If it wasn’t for the hard times, we would never grow our faith muscles.
Yes, Jesus told us there would be troubling times, but he also told us to take heart. We can be encouraged that Jesus has overcome the world. And while some problems may seem overwhelming, maybe even impossible, God’s Word reminds us that the things which are impossible with men are possible with God (Luke 18:27).
Intersecting Faith and Life:
What are you facing today that is overwhelming? Remember you are not facing it alone. God invites you to share whatever concerns you with him. And remember when you don’t see God working in your situation, it doesn’t mean he’s not working on it. God does some of his best work in the dark.
Lord, I lift those who are reading this right now. I don’t know what is happening in their lives, but you do. I pray that you would comfort where comfort is needed, that you would give your wisdom if that’s needed, and that you would remind each of us how much you love us, so much that you sent your precious Son to earth to die for us. We pray this in His precious and Holy name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
You’ll Never Forget, a poem by Anne Peterson
I know it doesn’t matter, God,
How big this world may grow,
You never will forget me
and you’ve often told me so.
You count each hair upon my head,
you watch me night and day.
And you will quiet heaven
every time you hear me pray.
For Further Reading:
Write down and reflect on two hard times in your life that God worked out.
Read my article on Crosswalk: 9 Scripture Verses for Hard Times
Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images Plus/bunditinay
Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker, and published author of 16 books. Her most recent book is Always There: Finding God's Comfort through Loss. Anne has published 42 Bible Studies and numerous articles with christianbiblestudies.com. She has been a regular contributor to Crosswalk for seven years. Visit Anne’s website at annepeterson.com and sign up for a free eBook or visit her Facebook page. You can also subscribe to Anne’s YouTube channel where you can watch her recite her poems and share her heart.