"The Lord is good. When trouble comes, He is the place to go!"
- Nahum 1:7 TLB
The next time you face trouble of some sort, I want you to think about the kind of mindset you adopt in your situation. When trouble strikes, do you immediately think about Jesus' words in 16:33, "In this world you will have trouble"? Or does your mind promptly turn to one of the many promises of protection and deliverance in God's Word? I'm going to do my best to help you to take a more positive stand against your troubles from now on, instead of a negative one. I believe that once you adopt a more hopeful outlook, you will be able to receive God's absolute best in your situation.
The first thing we need to do to remain positive in times of trouble is to turn to the Lord in prayer. Scripture says: "Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray." (James 5:13 NIV) When adversity strikes, do you run to the throne, or to the phone? Once we've failed to seek God first in a situation, we've already set ourselves up for defeat. The Lord may certainly direct us to others for advice or help at some point, but it's never His will for us to turn to others first. David, the shepherd-king, wrote: "In the day of my trouble I will call to You, for You will answer me." (Psalm 86:7 NIV) When trouble hit, David didn't despair, because he knew that he had options. He could call on the Most High God, with whom he had a personal relationship, and he could expect a divine, custom-made solution to his problem. You and I can have this same kind of assurance and hope. The Bible tells us that the Lord called David, "a man after My own heart." (Acts 13:22) I believe that one of the main reasons for this was that even though David had countless men, weapons, counselors, and other resources at his disposal, he didn't depend on them for help or deliverance. He wrote, "Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless." (Psalm 108:12 NKJV) If we rely on people or things for help, we won't be able to keep a positive perspective on our situation for very long, because sooner or later, they will bitterly disappoint us.
Another thing we need to do to face our troubles with a positive mindset is to claim and meditate on the promises of God. Psalm 91:7 (NIV) says: "A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you." In other words, we can be surrounded by trouble of the most serious kind, and we can claim supernatural protection and deliverance right in the midst of it. A later verse in this same psalm reveals that one reason this is possible is that the Lord assigns His angels to assist and protect us: "For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways." (Psalm 91:11 AMP) Scripture reveals a connection between our prayers of distress and angelic activity: "In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; He saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him." (Psalm 34:6-7 NLT) Doesn't it fill you with hope just to think of the Lord responding to your desperate pleas with the dispatching of His mighty angelic warriors? Some of the most inspiring promises in all of Scripture are contained in the fifteenth verse of Psalm 91 (NIV): "He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him." When I claim these supernatural promises in times of trouble, I am declaring that: (1) I can expect the Lord to answer my prayers for help; (2) I will not be alone, but I will have the presence of Almighty God; (3) I will witness the delivering power of the Lord on my behalf; and (4) I will be better than ever, having experienced my trials.
Yes, it's true that Jesus told us, "In this world you will have trouble." But that's not the end of the story. He went on to say, "But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 NIV) In other words, even though we will face difficult times before we get to heaven, we should be encouraged by the fact that our union with Christ will enable us to overcome whatever comes our way. The Lord has given us the privilege of prayer, and the power of His promises, along with a host of other resources, to help us face our troubles with hope in our hearts. Let's make the most of these heavenly resources, so that we may be a beacon a hope to others, and become all God created us to be!
Prayer: Lord, whenever trouble comes my way, help me to resist becoming negative, angry, or depressed. Enable me to see my situation from Your perspective, and to believe in Your ability and willingness to protect and deliver me and mine. Thank You that as I turn to You first in prayer, and claim Your promises of victory, I will triumph over my troubles every time!
- J. M. Farro