Times of Trouble

stormy seas

In this world you will have trouble


In our personal lives and in our world we see signs and times of trouble on a regular basis. Sometimes it is obvious why it is happening, sometimes it is not but regardless of the reason there are few of us who welcome trouble when it comes.

The apostle Paul understood trouble in ways most of us will never encounter. He uses the words pain, hardship, struggles, suffering, pain, affliction and despair to describe these troubles In 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 he describes in a very personal and vulnerable way what this looks like

“We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die”.

His list included imprisonment, beatings , facing death, thirty-nine lashes five times, stoned, shipwrecked, adrift at sea, constant danger from rivers, robbers, Jews, Gentiles, danger in the cities, danger in the deserts, on the seas, from imposters, sleepless nights, hunger, thirst suffering from the weather and the daily concern for all the churches. (2 Corinthians 11:23-28)

In addition we read in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 of a “nagging nuisance, a satanic messenger, a thorn in his flesh”, who plagued Paul constantly.

trouble 4

If the story ended here with Paul’s suffering it would be easy to say “poor Paul” and admire his endurance. In our culture we would make him a hero, name churches after him and everyone would want to buy his book and the inevitable small group DVD and study guides that would follow. But this is not Paul’s story or his purpose for telling it. Paul never intended that he get credit for all he endured.

2 Corinthians 12:10 I am at peace and even take pleasure in any weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and afflictions for the sake of the Anointed because when I am at my weakest, He makes me strong”.

When I am at my weakest, He makes me strong…

This is the story of God who makes us strong in our greatest weakness.

In our western culture we put a premium on comfort. When times of trouble do come our first response many times is to complain and question why God would allow these things to happen? Since when did Jesus use the word “comfort” to describe our walk with Him.

Space does not allow all the evidence in Scripture that would point to a different experience. And if trouble and trial are part of our walk with Him what is the purpose or reason? I would suggest two things

Our trouble is meant to increase our dependence on God

Paul says “when I am at my weakest I am strong

Why? Because the time of our greatest need provides the greatest opportunity to know God. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4  Paul writes” All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life.

Why is Paul giving all praise to God? Because there are times in our life where the only comfort that will get us through comes from God, the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort, the one who comforts us as we endure pain and hardship.

The one who gives peace in the midst of trouble that passes all understanding. (Philippians 4:7) God desires to reveal Himself to us and does through His grace, His mercy, His power and His comfort.

Our trouble enables us to comfort others

If I were to ask the question “would you be willing to go through trouble to comfort others”, what would your answer be?

Think about the worst thing or time you have gone through in your life would you be willing to go through that again to help someone?

To share in their trouble and hardship?

It is clear that one of the reasons God comforts us is “so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

When you are facing troubles and trials it is my prayer that the following will give you grace and comfort to endure.

1.  God allows trouble so we can experience His comfort in our lives

2.  God allows trouble so we can extend His comfort to others

3.  God allows trouble so we can learn to rely on his power 1

“All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort.  He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. For even as His suffering continues to flood over us, through the Anointed we experience the wealth of His comfort just the same. If we are afflicted with such trouble and pain, then know it is so that you might ultimately experience comfort and salvation. If we experience comfort, it is to encourage you so that you can hold up while you endure the same sufferings we all share. unshaken and unshakable. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

All scripture references from The Voice, New Living Translation and The New International Version Bibles

1 Quotes and inspiration from the series by Pastor John Lindell

“2 Corinthians-Comfort In The Midst of Crisis August 2014”

Photo credit “Wild about Britain

About HCliffCraig.com

“Now at last they were beginning chapter One of the great story no one on earth has read: which goes on forever”. I love this line at the end of the Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. Everyone has a story to tell and ultimately we are all part of a greater story that someday will be revealed in full. “ For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things”. ( 1 Corinthians 13:12). My story is not remarkable, although the events I have had the privilege in my life to witness have been. I grew up in the south “the land of cotton” and the old times there were definitely not forgotten. I remember where I was and what I was doing when JFK and Martin Luther King were murdered in Dallas and in Memphis. I remember the Civil Rights movement, a time of great unrest and change. I remember the dawning of the “Age of Aquarius” in the late 1960’s. It was also the dawning of my love for playing music, a love that has stayed with me throughout my life. If my life were chapters in a book one would tell of my precious bride of 20+ years who endured so much and stood beside me through the good and the bad. One would describe the blessings of being a father and a grandfather. One would tell about how despite being “the wretch” the song sings about God was able to change me, and use me to make a difference in others lives, make me a servant in His church, and surround me with friends all because of His goodness. All part of a story that has had many twists and turns. I think of the words Jimmy Buffet wrote in one of my favorite songs "As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man I have chalked up many a mile Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks And I learned much from both of their styles" And so it is true for me. But in all of my travels and all I have read and experienced nothing compares to where I am headed. The place where my story here ends and the story that goes on forever begins! "" I am confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on until completion until the day He returns". Philippians 1:6 My hope is that as we all run our race that in some small way my words will encourage and speak to you, as your story is being written. And draw you ever closer to the One who loves you. Further up and further in!

4 Responses to Times of Trouble

  1. ptl2010 says:

    Jesus the Great High Priest
    Hebrews 4:14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

  2. Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful! Each time I read this, my spirit is lifted. God Bless you ~Zoey

    • Thanks you Zoey for the encouragement. I am so glad it spoke to you and encouraged you. I don’t thinks anyone is more amazed than me when The Lord uses my writing to help someone else on their journey.
      God bless you also! I know He does.

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