When Trouble Comes
James 1:2-4 2
My family once lived next door to a woman in her eighties who was admittedly crusty and made a life out of being just a touch out-of-sorts about most things. It was her "gig," and we loved her for it. She claimed that her daily gin and cigarettes kept her fresh!
Her sister, on the other hand, was as proper as they come. She didn't drink or smoke. She exercised faithfully at the local pool and never complained about anything. One day, however, she unexpectedly became ill and lay in a coma in the hospital until she died. Our neighbor was stunned. All she could say in the days following her sister's death was: "I don't understand it. It should have been me. My sister was such a good person."
The fact is, it doesn't matter whether you're a "good" person or not. Trouble is indiscriminate. Good people suffer while bad people prosper. Children are victimized by their parents. The elderly are neglected and marginalized. So it's time to get real. You're not exempt-no one is-and you can count on the fact that some kind of trouble is lurking around the corner. Thankfully, for those of us who seek the face of God in the midst of trouble, we discover that he is not surprised by our pain. In fact, when trouble hits, God stands ready to protect us against our destructive instincts. Rather than plotting our own remedies or grumbling through the situation, we have the advantage of discovering that our loving Father uses trouble to refine and shape our lives into the likeness of his Son.
As in surgery, some things simply can't be removed or changed without a fair amount of pain. So our biblically tutored instincts tell us that we no longer need to resist trouble as an enemy but rather welcome it as a friend-and even consider it a source of joy.