It’s an old human story, and it keeps repeating itself. We don’t like trouble! We’ll do anything we can to get out of it. We don’t like negative consequences—who does? So we run away from discomfort.
I’ve rarely met a man or woman who says, “I’m in a mess, I’m in trouble! I did it, it’s my decisions, my words—‚it really is my fault. I failed; yes, I failed.” It gets even rarer for someone to examine this failure or trouble and actually look for their part in the trouble.
There are many illustrations in the Bible of people running from trouble. Way back in the beginning, Adam blamed Eve for his disobedience. Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife, lest his life would be lost. Jacob lied to his father Isaac to get what he wanted: Esau’s blessing. David covered up his sin of adultery by murdering his partner’s husband. Saul disobeyed God in idolatry and government, and rather than repenting he eventually turned to a witch for guidance.
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invaded Judah, conquered it, subjugated it, carried people off and left the land in bad shape. Some folks decided they better flee to Egypt to get away from God’s judgment on Judah. But Jeremiah gave them the word of the Lord. “Stay here. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, you have been judged. But don’t run to Egypt—it will get worse.” Some disobeyed and went anyway. Imagine this group of renegades fleeing Judah against the word of the Lord. They got to Egypt and a short time later the Chaldeans invaded. They got trouble again, and it was much worse. The “grass was not greener” in Egypt. It never is.
I’ve been in trouble a few times. Here’s some of the things I’ve learned as I’ve had to work through it.
- Don’t look for a way out. Look for a way through. Look for a solution. Look for an answer.
- Don’t quit. If you are even partially to blame and you quit, you likely have learned nothing and you will repeat the mistake.
- Don’t pass the buck. U.S. president Harry S. Truman had a sign on his desk with ‘The buck stops here’ inscribed on it. He knew the first step is to take responsibility.
- Do look to God for guidance. Do humble yourself and pray. Ask God to show you what is really going on—and at times the finger will point back to you!
- Do learn something. No trouble is ever wasted if you are humble enough to learn something. That’s what it takes. If you are a leader, have a little humility. Humility is not weakness – it is the foundation of strong leadership.
- Do some thinking. Emotion is your best friend and your worst enemy. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. As Elijah sat down in despair saying to God, “I’m the only one left…” God said, “Wake up, brother Elijah! I’ve got 7,000 more standing for me!” Discipline your emotions and remember the Creator, Miracle Worker has a way through for you.
Don’t run. Don’t quit. Don’t blame. Face your trouble and ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to get through it and learn from it and live a better day tomorrow.
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