Monday, March 3, 2014

"Mr. Webster's Error"

      Meaning no disregard to Mr. Webster and those who carry on his linguistic legacy and mission (and with a bit - quite a bit, actually - of tongue in cheek), I must respectfully identify a long published spelling error concerning a common English word.

     Webster's dictionaries have long established the proper spelling of a certain word as t-r-o-u-b-l-e.  This is incorrect, according to Biblical teaching, a more authoritative source.  In that holy context, the word should actually be spelled o-p-p-o-r-t-u-n-i-t-y (for the sake of clarity, we will use the traditional spelling for the remainder of essay).

    "Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me" (Psalm 50:15).   

     Difficulty, problems, loss, pain, and any experience we know in terms of trouble actually pave a pathway for the faith that accesses God's deliverance.  Thereby we honor Him as He rescues us either from our challenges, or in them.  In the Old Testament, trouble made possible the foreshadowing of Christ's triumph as God worked to deliver His trusting saints.  In the New Testament, trouble beckons the sons and daughters of God in Christ to affirm the very heart and heartbeat of our faith - "He is risen, as He said" (Matthew 28:6).  Perhaps a particular trouble comes to mind as you read this.  If so, do more than merely respell it - redefine it.  Opportunity.  It  matters not the nature or the measure of the challenge.  God transcends all.  He overcome the greatest challenge of both time and eternity before time even existed, eternally purposing that His Son would die for our sins and then rise again from the dead (Ephesians 3:11).  Your challenge and mine pale in comparison to the death of the Creator, which made way for a revelation of His greatness that could have been manifested in no other way.

    I do not mean to minimize the experience of trouble by suggesting we redefine it.  Regardless of how we view difficulty, it remains hurtful, disturbing, heartaching, and sometimes, even heartbreaking.  When trouble knocks on the door of even the most godly among us, the initial human reaction rarely involves welcome.  However, the more we know our Lord and the better we understand His truth, the more prepared we are to realize and affirm that in the lives of born again believers, trouble does not approach us unaccompanied.  "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).  With the challenge, whatever its nature, comes the risen Christ to enable our overcoming as we trust Him.  "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee" (Isaiah 43:2).  Yes, trouble means opportunity for God's trusting sons and daughters, the opportunity to trust our Father, and to see Him confirm the assurance of His promise, as revealed by the fact of His presence.

Waters, rivers, and fire,
you'll face them not alone.
"I will be with thee"
as through the trials we go.

Yes, we will pass through them, child,
our hearts knit fast as one.
"I will be with thee"
and you will overcome

Through the nearness of My presence,
 the faithfulness of My grace,
"I will be with thee,"
oh, rest your heart in faith.

For this to you I promise,
you will never be alone.
"I will be with thee"
to lead you safely home.

I will be with thee, child, I am with thee, you will never be alone.

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."
(Romans 8:35-36)





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