When we are going through tough situations, sickness or struggles it’s wise to keep calm and trust in the Lord. Life is full of difficulty, mistakes and trouble. I’m sure you can relate. And while I wish I would have made better choices or been more careful to prevent a costly mistake, I do see God’s grace, protection and provision even in the difficult stuff. I’ve learned to consider my troubles as “Joy” and I try to see how God is working in my life through it all. As an added bonus I also gain some fresh new sermon illustrations if I’m not too embarrassed to share them.
In James 1:2–4 (NLT) it says “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” And Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
As you might know, I got an unexpected Covid vacation last week after a positive result on a home test. In the old days I just would have kept working, considered it a bad cold and soldiered on. Julie and I pray every day that we will stay healthy. My Covid experience was being tired like I had mono and a having the usual cold symptoms but never a temperature. I don’t ever want to waste time being sick, but if I had to schedule a Covid experience into my life then last week was a perfect time. We were blessed that we didn’t get sick during the time we were interviewing or candidating for the pastor position at Emmanuel. And blessed we stayed healthy during the time we were selling our house, moving out, buying a house here, moving in, moving my daughter and her family into our basement and six weeks later helping them move into their own home. If I had to have the Covid life experience, am so thankful for that perfect timing and I think it was God answering our prayers.
I have an old truck with a lot of miles and I happily pay AAA for their towing insurance just in case I need it (they will tow up to 100 miles). A couple weeks ago my wife and I took a long trip on a very cold day and had no problems with the truck. The next day the truck stopped running as I was rolling into my neighborhood. I cleaned the mass airflow sensor and that fixed it. This week I was planning to drive the truck 120 miles to Duluth and back Monday morning but on the way home from church Sunday night my rear brake line broke and brake pedal slowly went down to the floor. I had it towed to a local repair shop but they wanted $900 just to replace the rear lines and $1500 to do both the front and back so I had it towed back home and will do it myself when I find time. But I am thankful that the truck quit running when it was in a safe place on the road and not when I was trying to cross the highway or in the middle of nowhere. I am thankful that the brakes gave out when I was close to home and not in traffic. I try to do a good job with preventative maintenance so I don’t have breakdowns like this and often replace parts before they fail. The rear brake line broke above the spare tire where I could not see it. I thank God for his grace and protection with this old truck and I am praying for his provision as I look to purchase an additional vehicle.
Sometimes our troubles and struggles show up and there was nothing we did to bring them on and nothing we could have done to avoid them. Other times the troubles are more self-inflicted when we either do what we know is wrong or we are trying to do the right thing not knowing we are doing it the wrong way. A recent example is when I added a shower to the downstairs bathroom in the house we just moved into here. The plumber left me his four-inch hole saw so I could put in a bathroom fan and vent it outside. The basement wall I need to cut a hole through is insulated with lot of spray foam. I poked around to try to make sure there were no obstructions and started drilling with the hole saw. Cutting through old hard foam is loud and squeaky but eventually the squeaking turned into a loud chirping and when I stopped to investigate I found that I was cutting into the live 220 volt power line that goes to the stove. I had no idea that was hidden in the foam and I thought I was doing it correctly. I am thankful that God protected me from getting electrocuted and that I was able to afford to pay the electrician’s high-priced bill to run a new power line from the fuse box to the kitchen.
- Can you see God at work in your life in the midst of your troubles and struggles?
- How do the hard things you go through and the experiences you have with the Lord make you more effective at encouraging others?
- How has your faith been growing over these past years to give you the endurance and calmness you are more likely to have now?
- What lessons have you learned through your mistakes and embarrassing moments that make you a better and kinder person today?
- Are you quick to show others the same kind of grace, compassion and forgiveness that God show you?
I would love to hear your faith stories of similar experiences you have had and how you kept calm and put your trust in the Lord.