Trouble – what a diverse word that has a clear meaning. We all know what trouble is and we all want to avoid it. No one wants trouble in their life and when it comes we want it to go away quickly. Add to that the discomfort we feel when we encounter someone who is in the middle of trouble. How many of you have felt at a loss for something to say or what to do? How many of us have simply resorted to the response, “this too shall pass” as our words of comfort and support? But really? Can we guarantee that trouble will pass, end, or eventually go away? I invite you to take time to re-visit last week’s readings, reflections and prayer focus. Blessings for the journey.
Monday: read Matthew 6:25-34
Time spent worrying is a waste of time. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount encouraged the people to focus on the things of God, not of this world. While Jesus’ counseled against focusing on worldly needs like food, clothing and shelter we also spend time worrying about trouble. Are you wasting time worrying about trouble in your life or in the life of someone you care about? What would be the appropriate use of your time to address trouble?
Tuesday: read John 14:1
Jesus predicted to the disciples his own death and that it was near; this was troubling news for them. However Jesus did not resolve the trouble rather he pointed to God’s promise of provision and care now and for eternity. In the midst of trouble what do you focus on? Is it the trouble or is it the care and presence of God?
Wednesday: read John 16:6-7
Maybe one of the most troubling parts of being in trouble is feeling like no one else is there. In preparing the disciples for his departure Jesus told them that they would not be abandoned, isolated, or alone. God was sending the Comforter, the Holy Spirit to be with them. In the middle of your trouble, how do you sense or know that the Holy Spirit is with you?
Thursday: read Philippians 4:6-7
Often we find a person to share our troubles with hoping to find comfort and maybe even solutions. What we may not realize is that others may not be capable of providing what we need in the areas of comfort or solutions. The One who can listen and comfort is God. Paul believes that in naming our troubles to God we will come to know peace – not necessarily resolution. Is it possible for you to be okay with God who grants peace but maybe not a resolution to your trouble?
Friday: read I Peter 5:7
Many of us have several acquaintances in our lives and some of us close friends. We also know that many of them are extremely busy and not always capable of dropping everything to come to our aid. In the middle of trouble who can you depend upon 100% of the time? The writer says to “throw all” upon God because God cares for you. Do you throw all of your trouble upon God in prayer or just some of it? Why not all of it?
Saturday: read Psalm 55:1-3
The Psalmist was a person who knew trouble. Take some time to read the Psalms and listen to his plight, his woes, and his cry for God. The writer’s words might actually be what you would like to say to God about your troubles. But also take note of the other Psalms – the ones that speak of deliverance. God listens; God does not avoid; God pays attention. But also be aware – God may not resolve your trouble in the way you want it to be resolved; actually you may have to spend a long time dealing with it. Remember – God is with you the whole time.
Prayer Focus: the presence of God in times of trouble; seeking a community that will support when in trouble; patience to endure times of trouble.