WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
AUGUST 15, 2020
TOPIC: TROUBLES TAKE YOU CLOSER TO GOD AND PREPARE YOU FOR ETERNITY
BY T. O. BANSO
“We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles. We set our eyes not on what we see but on what we cannot see. What we see will last only a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 New Century Version).
From the Scriptures, we understand that there are benefits we enjoy from troubles! Evidently that won’t sit well with many people. But James 1:2 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy” (New Living Translation).
One of the benefits of troubles is that they improve your prayer life and increase your faith in God. For those who have a relationship and fellowship with God prior to the time of trouble, it is a time of the trial of faith. Therefore, it is a period for them to be closer to God and seek His intervention.
For others who have never had time for God, He is the last resort. After they have tried other means of intervention in their troubles without getting the expected result, they come to God! Before the woman with the issue of blood for twelve years met Jesus, who healed her, she “had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any” (Luke 8:43 New King James Version).
At last, she came to Jesus and she didn’t have to look for another person again! And the wonderful thing about it was that Jesus didn’t collect anything from her! Her healing only cost her faith. Yes, her faith. Her healing was free.
Trouble has a way of making people get closer to God, even if it is initially for the purpose of finding a solution to their troubles. For many people, this becomes the point of entry into an eternal relationship with God. On the other hand, life’s troubles bring those who already have a relationship with God closer to Him. They seek His help for deliverance.
While I know that some people have allowed life’s troubles to drive them away from God, many people have been forced to seek God or get closer to Him by life’s troubles. Beloved, don’t let life’s troubles drive you away from God; let them draw you closer to Him. Don’t let troubles separate you from the love Christ has for you. Trouble doesn’t mean God doesn’t love His children.
Paul said, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? (Even the Scriptures say, ‘For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.’) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us” (Romans 8:35-37 New Living Translation).
In Psalm 107:6-7, the Bible talks about the cry of the children of Israel in their trouble. “Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses. And He led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city for a dwelling place” (Psalm 107:6-7 New King James Version).
Still talking in the same light, verses 13 and 19 say, “In their misery they cried out to the LORD, and he saved them from their troubles” (New Century Version).
Hear the cry of David in his troubles: “Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have enlarged; bring me out of my distresses! Look on my affliction and my pain, and forgive all my sins” (Psalm 25:16-18 New King James Version).
When the LORD delivered David from all his enemies and Saul, he said, among other things, “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry entered His ears” (2 Samuel 22:7 New King James Version). This Scripture is also recorded in Psalm 18:6.
Also, the writer of Psalm 118:5 said he cried to the LORD in his trouble and He answered him and set him in a broad place. It is evident that the trouble provoked the cry, which attracted God’s intervention.
Today, many people, who are serving the LORD, wouldn’t have come to Him or wouldn’t have drawn closer to Him if not for the troubles in their lives. Job’s friend, Elihu, said, “Hard times and trouble are God’s way of getting our attention!” (Job 36:15 Contemporary English Version).
Many drew closer to God after all other measures had failed. God will always listen to the cry of those in trouble. “In my distress I cried to the LORD, and He heard me” (Psalm 120:1 New King James Version). God determines the answer He gives and when and how He answers.
While one shouldn’t wait for the time of trouble before one gets closer to God, getting closer to God while in trouble is the wisest thing to do whether or not one had time for God before the trouble. Some, in their troubles, still refuse to get close to God and their troubles get worse until they consume them. Psalm 46:1 says God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Anyone who calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved (Romans 10:13). It is foolishness to be in trouble and not to put one’s trust in God for deliverance. “But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him” (Psalm 37:39-40 New King James Version).
The prophet Isaiah said about God, “For You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; for the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall” (Isaiah 25:4 New King James Version). Jonah prayed in the belly of a fish and the LORD delivered Him (Jonah 2).
Don’t give up in your trouble; put your trust in God; cry to Him. If the trouble is caused by your sin, repent and cry to Him for mercy. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto Jehovah, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7 American Standard Version).
Troubles don’t last forever, and death is not the end of everything. There is eternity. Troubles prepare the children of God for eternity with Him. Sinners will spend their eternity in hell with Satan.
No matter the good things of life one has and enjoys, nobody goes through life without experiencing some troubles. Troubles make you see how it is impossible for this world to satisfy your longing for a life without pain, loss, suffering, and so on. Therefore, troubles make you look forward to the real thing, a better place, heaven.
Hear what Paul said: “We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles. We set our eyes not on what we see but on what we cannot see. What we see will last only a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 New Century Version).
Our stay on this present earth is temporary. We are foreigners and aliens here (1 Peter 2:11). The homeland or citizenship of believers in Christ Jesus is in heaven and we must eagerly wait for Christ, our Saviour (Philippians 3:20). Our troubles are temporary. The eternal glory waiting for believers is much greater than our troubles.
Beloved, no matter the trouble you’re in, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12 English Standard Version). Remember this: “The righteous face many troubles, but the LORD rescues them from each and everyone” (Psalm 34:19 New Living Translation). The LORD shall deliver you from all your troubles.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINT: Father, help me to draw closer to you and never away from you, no matter the troubles I face in life. Nothing shall separate me from the love that Christ has for me. Holy Spirit, help me to love Jesus more and more. O LORD, deliver me from anything that will make me miss eternity with God.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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