Trouble tempts us to self-centeredness. "Job answered and said, Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity weighed in the balances together!" (Job 6:1-2).
Contrast this with the Lord Jesus Christ, who upon the cross of His sorrow and forsakeness prayed, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). Or consider the Apostle Paul's response to difficult challenge - "For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation" (II Corinthians 1:5-6) . Clearly the Lord and His servant saw an opportunity in trouble, namely, the means of ministry whereby God redeems our pains into the power to venture forth from ourselves unto blessing others.
When born again believers face pain and difficulty, of whatever mode and measure, our initial response will involve the normal human tendencies - "I hurt!" "I'm sad!" "I'm scared!" "I'm confused!" "I've been treated unjustly!" "I'm angry!" What if, however, we do not have to remain in the grips of our reaction? What if we might open the eyes of our hearts to see a path of love lying before us? It does. Our faith began with the sufferings of One becoming the redemption of many. It continues as we realize this same One now dwells in us by His Spirit, purposing to live the same quality of character and life in us. "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal body… for all things are for your sakes" (II Corinthians 4:10; 15).
No measure exists whereby the power of this truth can be calculated. Recognizing trouble as the opportunity to trust God and to remember the difficulties of others empowers us to a transcendant Life far beyond the human. When the initial question, "Why is this happening to me?" becomes "Who is this for?", the Lord Jesus walks the troubled paths of this world again. In us. Moreover, He walks them in the triumph of love whereby self-centerness dissolves in the glory of God's sublime character of devotion to others. Our particular path begins with prayers for others experiencing trouble - "And the Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends" (Job 42:10). It continues by innumerable possibilities of ministry to others, based upon our own difficulties and challenges. "I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which have happened to me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the Gospel" (Philippians 1:12). Only eternity will reveal the wonders of Christ's goodness known thereby, but this moment offers a path to the troubled and hurting, the path of our Lord's love that leads us upward, outward, and away from ourselves unto His glory and the benefit of others…
"So then death worketh in us, but life in you."
(II Corinthians 4:12)
Weekly Memory Verse
I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come nor height nor depth nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.