Thursday, August 9, 2012

Taking Troubles in Stride

We often find ourselves in one form of trouble or another. It may be a spiritual struggle, an emotional crisis, or a physical ailment that besets us or a loved one. It may be brought into our lives by circumstances beyond our control, or it may be self-inflicted. What is surprising is that we, especially as Christians, are bewildered as to why “our” lives have been inconvenienced by these unwelcome intrusions. Many seem to believe that once we profess Christ we will be immune to any of the hardships of life, and all our troubles will fade away. But this line of thinking overlooks two inescapable (and Biblical) truths.

First: It is an inevitable fact of life - trouble is going to happen; as Job said, “Man born of woman is few of days and full of trouble”. In John 16:33, Our Lord Himself declares: “In the world ye shall have tribulation”. Philosophers and theologians have debated for centuries about “why bad things happen to good people”, but there is no avoiding it, trials, tribulations, and trouble will invade every single one of our lives.

Second: It is through trials that the greatest life lessons are learned. The type of character which demonstrates the ‘fruit of the spirit” is seldom, if ever, developed when things are going smoothly. Even a quick survey of the New Testament will underscore this fact, as it is a common theme among the authors that true faith will be challenged, but this is necessary for faith to mature. A poet put it in these words:

I walked a mile with pleasure
She chatted all the way
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say
I walked a mile with sorrow
Not a word said she
But oh the things I learned from sorrow
When sorrow walked with me.

If this is true for individuals, then it is no surprise America as a nation has been through a storm or two, and has endured through times of great difficulty: The War Between the States; the two World Wars; the Great Depression, to name but a few. These all evoke dreadful memories of rather desperate historic periods when this country struggled to survive. But it is also as a result of these times that the “never–say-die” character which is emblematic of the American people was forged. And though the present social climate within the country is somewhat daunting, it is noteworthy that when tragedies strike, Americans rise to the occasion. Churches, civic groups, and communities band together, striving to collectively serve the common good. We will come through our down-turn; not because of any measures enacted by our government, but because of the selfless acts and characteristic resolve of the American people, which is rooted in our Christian heritage.

See Ya Sunday!

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