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Thursday, October 6, 2011

What Do You Do When You Are REALLY in Trouble?

Most of our troubles are minor. Heavy traffic on the way to work is more of an inconvenience than a real problem. Losing our credit cards brings more anxiety than real trouble. Even a spat with our spouses is generally forgotten in a couple of days. Let's face it, these are not real troubles but real troubles do exist.

Real trouble comes  when your boss says that the company is cutting back on employees and you have only two weeks of severence pay. Real trouble comes when your doctor says that you have cancer. Real trouble comes when your child runs away and you can't find her. These are real troubles because you don't know where to turn nor what to do. You feel surrounded by the trouble and it begins to smother you.

King Jehoshaphat was surrounded by three groups of people. The Meunites, Ammonites and Moabites outnumbered his army in such numbers that there was no hope in victory. His surrender would probably result in his execution. He would have been humiliated, tortured, crippled and killed. His people would be abused and enslaved. They had only one hope.

Jehoshaphat set his heart to seek the Lord and declared a fast for the whole land. The people came from all around to Jerusalem to seek the Lord. And Jehoshaphat prayed. He told of who God is and what God could do. He asked the Lord to so something about the problem. But none of this is remarkable. We all do the same thing when we are in real trouble. Just look at how we ran to church after 911. No, prayer is not the total answer.

Most people focus on their trouble when they have real problems. They believe that focusing on the trouble will reveal a solution. I suppose that is true if you have some real power to overcome the problem. This trouble that Jehoshaphat had couldn't be solved by his own strength. He, therefore, didn't focus on his trouble. He focused on the Lord!

Now, this shouldn't be such a big surprise to us. Afterall, didn't Jesus say that we should seek first God's kingdom and righteousness to have all that we need given to us?

So, we seek the Lord, focus on Him, and our troubles will be taken care of. That may mean that our lives are taken or our homes or jobs are taken. It may mean that our children run off and stay away for a long time but the trouble itself is placed into the hands of the only One who can really handle the trouble.

It takes a lot of maturity to honestly say, "Lord, I don't know what to do but my eyes are on you."

2 Chronicles 20:12 (NIV) 12 O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."

1 comment:

Anthony Chia said...

I am not necessarily saying that the teachings of some of the “overly grace” preachers are responsible all the time for the way Christians think and behave, but really some of the stuff these preachers drum into believers really irks me. Indeed, Jesus did say that we (BELIEVERS) should seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness to have all that we need given to us. But now, many believers are like under a spell, going round asserting that many scriptures were NOT referring to believers, when in actual fact, they were. Even big name international pastors are the culprits in fostering such an approach.

There are “overly grace” believers out there who will tell us that the “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” was NOT directed at believers! Their argument is that they, as believers are already righteous all the time, and so, it cannot be referring to them! So, for such overly grace believers, seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness is no longer applicable to them, purportedly they are already arrived. They only lay claim to the “all that I need, MUST be given ME”! As a side, such people will tell you they believe 1 John 1:9 is NOT for believers; and Ananias and Sapphira were NOT believers or followers of Jesus (see, just claim non-believers, everything can be explained, even death!).

The truth of the matter is that the “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” in Matt 6, were and are referring to believers (just read the whole text and context, and you will know). Exactly opposite to the claim of the overly grace believers, the intent of that verse, by Jesus, was to exhort us to CONTINUE to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and NOT, “I have it, nothing left to do, or should do”. It is only when our posture is right, that when each trouble hits us, we will benefit from the snag, the way God would like us to benefit from it. At the base of it all, God can only love and will only love Man unto righteousness (`ahab love). So, in each trouble, NOT necessarily God has anything to do with it, God will work things out in such a way that some good will come out of it for those who love God, who are called according to His purposes (Rom 8:28). The “good” here includes the learning that we should “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”, for God ultimately can only love Man unto righteousness. So, you see how insidious the deception of the “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” is NOT for believers.

Some people say that when things turn sour, God is there making lemon juice. Well, the lemon juice is any good only if you drink it! If you do NOT resolve to, or increase in your resolve to, “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”, on each trouble (Ps Prentis said, “real trouble”), you are inviting troubles to trouble you!