Don’t let your troubles just irritate you. Take advantage of your troubles. Here's some specifics to consider, and after you read the list be encouraged by the Bible verses at the end.
1. Remember “all things work together for good to those who love the Lord,” (Romans 8:28) and trust that this means YOU.
2. Take courage; God’s Holy Spirit lives within each one who is a believer.
3. Look around and see what caused this present problem. Learning to identify the source of a problem can give you an advantage the next time something similar appears in the distance.
4. Ask God for wisdom in the matter. If you can learn something new, or remember something you used to know then you’ve added to your arsenal of information.
5. Put words on paper. Write down what comes to mind so these thoughts don’t have to keep circulating through your brain, day and night.
6. Observe how people around you react to your dilemma. You can learn a lot about the spiritual condition of a person by how they treat you at this time.
7. Look for specific Bible promises that could apply. As you read, notice which verses the Holy Spirit draws you to.
8. Try finding something to be thankful for. Get reacquainted with the Psalms for ideas in praising God in the midst of life’s perplexities.
9. While your situation may be totally unique you may be able to apply some principles that you’ve observed to work in the lives of other believers.
10. Remember that there will be an end to the pressure you’re feeling just now. Don’t allow depression to whisper lies to your heart. You will not give up, and God will not let it be too hard.
11. Know who our spiritual enemy is. In Luke 10:19, Jesus announces that He has given us authority over all the power of the enemy. In James 4:7 we are admonished to resist the devil and he will flee from you. See also I Peter 5:8, I John 3:8, and Ephesians 6:11.
12. Give yourself some slack. Perhaps you need to take a Sabbath rest for yourself.
13. If there’s something you need to make right, make it a matter of prayer right now. Confess it to the Lord. Heed His leading in how to approach any other people who are involved.
14. Redefine your goals. Update your strategy and plans.
15. Survey your resources. What’s on hand? What would make this easier to handle?
16. Remind yourself that you’ve survived life so far. God provides opportunities as well as hurdles along the race.
17. Guard against bitterness.
18. Remember Jesus.
19. Be bold to pray for others who are struggling. You now know a little of what they may be feeling. You have something in common.
20. Keep on the lookout for someone who is watching you. The Lord may use your example to speak to people in some ways you can’t even predict.
21. On your way through this trouble perhaps you can add to the above list.
Capitalize on your experience. You will come out stronger, and your walk with the Lord will be more meaningful. God can use this “mess” to give you a “message” to share with others. God has designed this “test” to give you a “testimony” to bless and encourage others.
You do not suffer alone, unloved, unknown.
The first believers knew about troubles; they expected them and they experienced them. Look at the main points of 2 Timothy 2:1-11:
• Be strong in the grace in Messiah Jesus.
• Teach others.
• Endure hardness like a good solider.
• Don’t entangle yourself in worldly matters. Strive for mastery about these things.
• The Lord will give you understanding.
• Endure for the sake of others so they may obtain salvation with eternal glory.
Imagine the very best outcome for the situation that has your attention right now. Then take to heart the concluding verse from 2 Timothy 2:12, “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.” Here God’s purpose is revealed. Let these words be a comfort, a challenge, and a celebration.
Your experience can have great significance — for you and for others. Be determined to take advantage of your troubles.
by Elaine Hardt © 2005