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Mar 12, 2023

The Trouble with Trouble

The Trouble with Trouble

Speaker: Dennis Gallaher

Category: Sunday Morning

How is trouble is a great thing?

Trouble is a great thing that God introduces to our lives for us to grow. Trouble can mean trial, affliction, difficulty, etc. Jesus called it tribulation.

Dennis tells of the trouble in their lives of the illnesses of his late wife, Jan, beginning in 1992 with a diagnosis of an incurable blood cancer that would take her life. The Dr. gave a statement at that time saying, "You are never the same when you are touched with your mortality." For the next 25 years, they learned lessons that are many times hard to articulate. Before Jan died (Oct 2018), Dennis and Jan agreed that they wouldn't wish this life on anyone, but they also would not trade it for anything. 

They both gained understandings of these scriptures:

  • Philippians 3:10 That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
  • Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • Nehemiah 8:10 ...Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
  • Being touched by our own mortality teaches us Hebrews 2:12 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith...

They both learned more about trouble than prosperity, more about trials than earthly triumphs, more about afflictions than miracles, and more about serving others when it really hurts. But they will tell you that many have suffered so much more... the loss of a first born, the diagnosis that stays for the duration of a life, one crippled and alone, a pastor murdered... God has a purpose in trouble. Elizabeth Elliott said, "suffering is never for nothing."

Trouble is an important tool in the workshop of faith, yet it is also the most misunderstood. Think of a current trouble that you are facing. When we read the prayers each week that are put on our prayer board, we find that most are relational needs... problems in marriages, problems within families, adult children separated from family, friend problems, etc. 

What we can learn from trouble:

1) Trouble is the key ingredient in mature faithJames 1:2-4 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. When we allow endurance (patience, steadfastness) to work in us, it provides for us everything we could ever need. What do we want from God? Endurance is the answer. James 1:4

  • J.B.Phillips translation: But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence
  • KJV: worketh patience.
  • ESV: produces steadfastness.
  • NLT: endurance has a chance to grow in the midst of patience.

Encounter various trials. The word for trial is peirasmos - to reveal a weakness in you. You can't be tempted by something if the weakness is not already in you. God wants to deal with our weakness and make us of strong character. He allows trials, troubles, and temptations to come into our lives to build us into people of great faith; through great patience.

First and foremost - sanctify trials; set aside our trials for God. Ask God to use your trouble and trial for His glory. God will use our trials to build our faith. Job is a great example of a blameless and upright man that God allowed trials into his life. Job was not patient and did not understand why all this was happening. But he knew that God was in the whirlwind with him. Job 23:10 But He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. A lie of the enemy is that God has abandoned you. The truth is that God knows the trials that we are in. God's plan is for our purity and value.

2) You can take it! When faced with a trial, there are 2 choices: to believe His Word or to believe that God has forsaken us. 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except something common to mankind; and God is faithful, so He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 

Job held on to what he knew about God even as his "friends" tried to tell him why he was suffering and how to get out of it. Job knew that God would not forsake him in his trouble; God would never leave him.

3) God wastes nothing. Are you suffering a minor loss or a great loss right now? Suffering is a part of life and God has a purpose in suffering. Maybe you are having a trial that doesn't end but take heart... God wastes nothing. Job asked many questions to God during his trials, but God doesn't answer.

Job 40-42 God begins to ask Job questions declaring that God is God and Job is not. It is an important realization for us. Then we can know who God really is. Job repents... Job 42:1-6 Then Job answered the Lord and said, “I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” ‘Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me.’ “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.”

Here are three potentials in the last Chapter of Job for those who don't give up and walk through a trial with God. When we go through troubles and trials and make it through, we can see God in a light that won't come any other way. When we make it through troubles and trials and we don't forsake God, we can know that:

  • God accepted Job. God accepts us. Job 42:9
  • God is our dwelling place and refuge. Deut 33:27 The eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. John 10:27-30 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
  • God restores and blesses. Job 42:10 The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold. Restoration is to bring back to the original intent. God restores by allowing tribulations along with blessings in order to change us. Job 42:12 The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.  

What trouble are you facing today?
How can we sanctify a trial? Have you sanctified your trouble?
What scripture has God given a greater understanding of through your trouble?
How have you been helped by Pastor Dennis and his late wife Jan's trial and/or this message on suffering?