God works in and through the difficulties and problems that confront you in ways that you seldom see except in retrospect. That’s when you look back and say, “Ah, now I can see the hand of God leading, guiding, and protecting me; but I certainly didn’t see it at the time.” Right! That’s why your hindsight is so much better than your foresight. Looking back you have 20/20 vision, but staring trouble and difficulty in the face, you are completely blind.
That was true of a young man, probably in his late teens, who’s jealous, hateful half-brothers decided to kill him and make his death look like an accident. That’s when an older brother with more sense pleaded for his life. “There’s no need to kill him to get rid of him,” said Judah. “We can sell him to slave traders, take his coat, dip it in blood and make his death look like an accident. We get rid of him, pocket a little money, and spare his life.”
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
You can read about this true story in Genesis 37, in the Old Testament of your Bible. The lad who was the victim was Joseph, and as he trudged toward Egypt with bound hands and shackled feet, his mind must have been filled with confusion and turmoil.
Joseph didn’t know what was happening, but God did. True, Joseph had brought some of his problems on himself, yet as part of God’s design, he was to become the Prime Minister of Egypt, and when famine later struck his homeland, he was in a position to save their lives, thus trading good for evil. Looking back, Joseph told them, “As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil, for he brought me to this high position I have today so that I could save the lives of many people” (Genesis 50:20, Living Bible).
If you had God’s perspective, if you could see the end of the dark tunnel as He does, how different would the trials and difficulties of life appear?
Question: How concerned is God when you face difficulty and trouble?
Surprising as this may be to you, over 129 times the Bible mentions trouble. Often God is mentioned in relationship to the testimonies of those who turned to Him in the time of trouble. Nahum, the 6th century BC prophet, wrote, “The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him” (Nahum 1:7).
Notice that he makes three statements: First, God is good—not an impotent, disinterested deity out there somewhere, but rather Nahum affirms his belief in the goodness of the living God. He then says that in the day of trouble, God is a stronghold. He uses a military word which means an armed fortress, a place of safety where your enemies can’t get to you. Difficulties and trouble often drive us to God, sometimes as a place of last resort. Remember the old aphorism, “There are no atheists in foxholes”?
Then he says that God knows those who trust in Him. David affirmed the same truth when he wrote, “In the day of trouble he will keep me safe in His dwelling” (Psalm 27:5).
Question: How do you handle trouble?
Those who have a strong belief in God aren’t spared difficulties and troubles, but they survive them better in that they see the hand of the Shepherd who walks with them through the long hours of difficulty and ultimately takes them up to the light on the other side of the valley. If you haven’t found an anchor in the loving God of the Bible, get to know Him. It’s the key to surviving difficulty and trouble.
Resource reading: 1 Samuel 17:1-58