“In this world, you will have trouble…”
I realize that there is hope within this verse, (see John 16:33 for context) and that our hope is Jesus, but I just couldn’t keep from pondering these seven words:
“…In this world, you will have trouble…”
When some face the “troubles” of this world, they crumble. Some doubt their faith, others run, and others try to quit. But no matter your walk in life, no one is exempt from this fact: we will all encounter trouble.
The sooner we embrace the fact that we are all either walking through or toward a hardship, the sooner we can move on to the good news.
That’s right. The verse doesn’t end there. Because Jesus defeated death on the cross for you and me, when we walk through life’s hardships, we can be encouraged that this is not the end, but merely a page in the story of our lives that God is writing.
Personally, this is why I enjoy reading biographies so much. I’ve never read one where great pain or trouble didn’t have a significant role in shaping their story.
For example, Dave Ramsey went broke before he decided to make changes to his life and spending habits. Then, he created a business helping others do the same.
Chip and Joanna Gaines were paycheck to paycheck, hand-writing “IOU’s” to friends and vendors before their big break with HGTV.
Maybe…just maybe…the trouble you are facing is to grow your faith. Or maybe walking through this trial well will give you a renewed passion and vision for how you can one day help others do the same.
This very community exists because Michelle and a handful of her close friends were all facing “troubles” in their work endeavors and needed one another’s prayer and encouragement to walk through their hardships well.
So what separates those who are successful, joyful, and content from those who are failing, miserable, and unfulfilled?
That’s right. Seemingly insignificant, everyday choices.
You can choose to see yourself as a victim, as cursed, as a failure. Or, you can choose to see your pain as part of the process. His process.
And while this is much easier said than done, here are three truths to help us thrive through trouble:
- Don’t run from it. Embrace it.
Pray for God to give you the strength to walk through the trial well. Trust Him for what’s next. He is always faithful.
- Have a teachable spirit.
If you’re too busy trying to avoid the pain or rush through the season, you might miss what God is trying to teach you. Prioritize your prayer life, and ask Him to show Himself to you. He is with you.
- Shift your focus to others.
It’s natural to try to avoid suffering. But it’s likely that God will use your greatest pain to allow you to minister to others.
As Paul wrote to Timothy:
“Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” ( 2 Timothy 2:10)
If we take God at His word, (which I highly recommend) God doesn’t waste anything. In fact, Romans 8:28 teaches us that God works everything for His glory and our good.
It’s the beginning of a new year, and we might need a new perspective in 2018. Your next ministry, project, or opportunity may be waiting on the other side of how you endure and grow as a result of a present or future hardship.
So in the midst of planning big goals and big dreams for 2018, let’s also take a moment to realize that there will be trouble…
…and He can handle it.