Trouble Ahead

Notice that I didn’t title this “IF troubles come…” If you’re breathing, trouble will NOT be a stranger to you!

The notion that following Jesus equals an easy, comfortable, pain-free journey through life is one of the BIGGESToldest and most dangerous of misperceptions. False expectations, in general, set us up for disappointment; but this one can crush our spirit and even our faith if we’re not careful.

Often when a hard time hits, when a crisis hits, when a tragedy hits, we want out. We ask God for an airlift out of our problems. But many times God wants us to learn in the midst of those difficulties—and to learn especially about His love for us:

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?…No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. (Romans 8:35, 37 NLT)

Notice that phrase “all these things.” This passage isn’t saying we won’t face some of these struggles, but that in them we’re “more than conquerors.”

If you’re seeking to obey the Lord, expect opposition. Expect obstacles. Expect difficulties. But also expect God to see you through.
~ Excerpted from Beyond by Greg Laurie

Joseph is a prime example! (Genesis 37, 39-50) Betrayed and sold into slavery by his brothers! Falsely accused by his employer’s wife and tossed into prison. Forgotten about by a friend after helping him understand a dream.

From our Lower, earthly perspective we could easily conclude that God had forsaken Joseph. But twice – when he arrives in Egypt as a slave and when he is thrown in prison, it clearly states that “the LORD was with Joseph.”(Genesis 39:2, 21)

God sustains Joseph and we eventually learn that all of this was used by God to further His  kingdom agenda.

How can we prepare our hearts to trust God when troubles come?

Just Getting Started

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.
— Ecclesiastes 3:11

When I look back on my life at the things God has allowed me to do and the opportunities He has opened up, I can see the wisdom of His perfect timing.

Our tendency is to rush things. But just because something hasn’t happened in your life today doesn’t mean it won’t happen tomorrow. Just because it doesn’t happen tomorrow doesn’t mean it won’t happen a month from now or a year from now. Maybe one phase of your life is ending and another is beginning. Maybe everything that has happened to you up to this point in your life has been preparation for what is still ahead.

Moses didn’t get going until he was 80. Then there was Caleb, another Israelite who left Egypt in the Exodus. Along with Joshua, Caleb came back full of optimism and belief when they were sent to spy out the Promised Land. But when the Israelites believed the pessimistic report of the ten other spies, God was so displeased that He refused to allow them to enter the land.

Years later, when Joshua led a new generation of Israelites into the Promised Land, Caleb was among them. And at 80 years old, he said to Joshua, “So give me the hill country that the Lord promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the descendants of Anak living there. . . But if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the Lord said” (Joshua 14:12).

Joshua gave him his little segment of land as was promised, and Caleb drove out all of its inhabitants. Caleb believed God’s promises, and God was faithful. We need to do the same.

False Promises

 

These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.
— Jude 1:16–18

A common characteristic of false teachers is the offer of false promises. You see them promising, for example, that God will prosper those who give $10 with a hundredfold blessing—multiplying that amount and returning it to them. This is a false message, however. We should never give to get.

If I were to give an amount of money to God’s work, thinking it would multiply a certain number of times and would ultimately return to me, that would be a wrong motive. God will not honor it. It is also a false promise.

All believers should give, on a regular basis, of the resources and income that God has given to them. On the other hand, we don’t give to get something. The Bible says that God loves a cheerful giver (see 2 Corinthians 9:7). We give because we have received. We give because we recognize that all that we have comes from God. We give because we want to share in the eternal reward of what God is doing by investing in the work of His kingdom. We give because God has commanded us to do so.

Jude wrote his epistle to refute those who were teaching that the grace of God gives people a license to sin. And Paul wrote in Romans 3:8, “And why not say, ‘Let us do evil that good may come’?—as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.”

In other words, there are those who say, “Go ahead and do wicked things, and God will bless you, because you are covered by grace.” Paul was saying that this is a perversion of the teaching of the grace of God.