When Trouble Comes
None of us would deny that we are living under incredible pressure. Sometimes life seems like one continuous migraine headache. So, how do you deal with troubling, stressful situations? Do you lose your ability to sleep, turn to food, become discouraged, or get angry? If your response to stressors is inadequate, physical, emotional, or spiritual illness results. You may experience burn-out, loss of motivation, depression, and even feel suicidal. Every hour, every day, on average, three persons commit suicide in the United States because they cannot cope with stress.
Instead of allowing trouble and stress to destroy us, we can turn to God and enlist His help. How? I Peter 5:6-11 provides the answer:
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (I Peter 5:6-11 NKJV)
These verses were addressed to Christians living during a period of great persecution. You can imagine the kind of stress they were under each day as they were being arrested, beaten, imprisoned and killed. But they coped successfully with stress, and you can too, by following God’s instructions for dealing with trouble.
1. Submit to God. (Vs. 6) The first thing you should do when under pressure is to submit yourself and the situation to God totally. Why? Because God gives grace (power) to the humble. To submit is to place yourself completely under His authority and protection and to say to Him, “I accept whatever you want to teach me in this situation and whatever you want to do for me and through me.” God is good and has promised to make all things work out for our good, if we place them into His hands.
2. Send your problems to Him. (vs. 7) If you do not release it, God cannot relieve it. The word translated “casting” literally means “to throw something”. God tells us to throw our problems upon Him. That is, push them away from us and let them land into His hands. Make Him responsible for them. That is what prayer is for. “All” means every one of them and every type—personal, family, financial, physical, spiritual, emotional, cares for the present and for the future.
3. Set yourself to resist the devil. (Vs. 8-9) When you are under a lot of stress, the enemy of your soul will be nearby, looking for the opportunity to make you sin. He is going to do his best to plant thoughts into your mind to make you worry, complain, become negative, or offended. Refuse his offers. Reject his lies. Remember the promises. Rejoice in the Lord. God is in control.
4. See the Lord working all around you. (Vs. 10-11) He did not say that as soon as you place the problem in His hand it would disappear. What He did say is that (a) He is the God of all grace, which means you can count upon Him to give you the unmerited help and ability you need. If his grace does not deliver you from trouble, it will preserve you in trouble; (b) He has called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, which means your tests will end in testimonies, your trials in triumph. He will bring glory out of this for Himself and for you; and (c) He will perfect, strengthen, and settle you. That is His way of saying, don’t worry because He is going to get you through this and make you a bigger and better person in the process.
How can I be sure God will work it out for me? “Because,” Peter says “He cares for us.” In Greek, “cares” is in the present tense, active voice and the indicative mood. This is significant. The present tense means that His caring is continuous, ongoing, and now. The active voice means the Lord Himself is doing it. The indicative mood means that this is a fact! Put it all together and we find that in every circumstance we find ourselves in, Jesus Christ, Himself, is personally, continuously and actively engaged in the ongoing process of providing for us, and this is a fact, not to be doubted!
Let the church say, Amen!