Hope in the Face of Trouble

We are never alone, even in our darkest times.

One thing is certain about the Christian experience.  If we are willing to slow down long enough to hear the voice of the Lord, He will speak to us, and He can do it in the most unusual ways.  I would like to share one such experience with you today.

Not too long ago, Traveler’s Insurance came out with a very effective commercial illustrating a dog’s solution to protecting his most prized possession.  After endless restlessness and inadequate solutions, the dog finally placed his bone under the protective covering of Traveler’s insurance umbrella.  If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it below.

Who hasn’t faced a similar struggle, trying to find the illusive answer to the “troubles” we all face? I have certainly had my share.

As I was praying this morning, my eyes were opened to an interesting observation about that commercial: The “troubles” the dog faced concerning his bone didn’t disappear, but the worry did.  Why? He transferred the risk of loss to someone else.

1 Peter 5:7 says we should cast all our cares on God, because He cares for us.  Ah, the perfect scripture to put our “troubles” in proper perspective, so we can wrap everything up in a tidy spiritual bow.  All done…problem solved.  Right? Wrong!

Here is the hard part for someone like me.  I’m a fixer.  If I see a problem, I want to find a solution.  When I face difficulties, I always want to find solutions on my own, even to the point of shutting out help from others.  Sure, I pray for solutions, but even when I pray my attitude is often grounded in God somehow providing the solution through me.  Am I the only one, or do you ever do that? If you do (be honest), you may want to do what I had to do this morning.

Go back to the beginning of 1 Peter 5:7 to find the key.  The whole process is supposed to begin with us coming to God humbly.  Does that approach ring a bell? We see the same approach in James 4:7-8.

In James, the formula begins with humble submission to God.  The promised results: 1.) If we draw near to God, He will draw near to us, and 2.) If we resist the devil, and he will flee.  The lesson: The key to victory in our spiritual battles is to cling to God, because we cannot effectively fight an enemy we cannot see.

In 1 Peter, the formula also begins with humble submission to God in the form of casting our cares on Him.  And, just like James, it comes with a promise.  God will lift us up in due time, which means when the timing is right.  Here is the problem.  If we truly come to God humbly, we must also trust that He will allow the results when the timing is right.

To make matters worse for those of us who are a bit thick in the head, Jesus specifically says we shouldn’t worry, because it doesn’t produce anything worthwhile.  (Matthew 6:25-34)

So, why do we worry? Usually, worry is either rooted in fear of pain or loss.  When it comes worrying, we need to be able to do what the Traveler’s dog did.  However, instead of transferring the concern to an insurance company, we need to transfer everything we consider ours to God: Our financial state (income and possessions), our physical state (health and protection), our emotional state (every fear, stress, joy and sorrow), and our spiritual state.

That is hard to do, especially when we feel overwhelmed.  But, that is when we need to do it most.  That is when we have to realize our efforts alone have not done the job.  We need help, so, like little children, we need to approach the throne of grace.  When we do, we are promised mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.  (Hebrews 4:16)

In the commercial, the dog needed help.  He couldn’t find a solution that worked.  Children realize they need help when they approach a parent.  Like these two examples, we need to realize our need for help.  We need to approach God with sincere humility, calling on His mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.

Praying that prayer does not absolve us of our responsibilities.  That is why the Bible is replete with scriptures that show God’s blessing upon the works of our hands.  But, we need to come humbly to God, so He can help us when we cannot help ourselves.  And, we have to trust in His result – in His timing.

When we look back on our troubles, it’s easy to echo the words of Paul: “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed.  We are perplexed, but not driven to despair… We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed” 2 Cor.  4:8-9 (NLT).  Being able to say that will come later.  It always does.  In the meantime, we need to endure as we trust in God’s future deliverance, so we need to take comfort from another scripture:

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it.
The world and all its people belong to him.
For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas
and built it on the ocean depths.
Who may climb the mountain of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place?
Only those whose hands and hearts are pure,
who do not worship idols
and never tell lies.
They will receive the LORD’s blessing
and have a right relationship with God their savior.
Such people may seek you
and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob.

Open up, ancient gates!
Open up, ancient doors,
and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty;
the LORD, invincible in battle.
Open up, ancient gates!
Open up, ancient doors,
and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory?
The LORD of Heaven’s Armies—
he is the King of glory.

Psalm 24 (NLT)

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  1. When a child asks a parent for help with something, the parent either shows the child how to do it, helps the child with it, or does it for the child. God does the same for us. We just have a had time letting go and letting God……

    1. Indeed. I struggle with this issue constantly, even though I have written about it and taught it more times than I can count. May the Lord help us all be a little better at letting go, so he can accomplish His will in His timing in our lives.

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