Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
October 30, 2016
There are troubles we must not avoid
Life confirms the truth of what Jesus said about trouble. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” Most of us would agree that no truer words were ever spoken.
Trouble, of course, comes in various sizes and colors. A wise man once said there are three kinds of troubles: troubles we can avoid, troubles we cannot avoid, and troubles we must not avoid.
Troubles we must not avoid are troubles that can help us, trials from which we can learn and grow and become better people. So there are lessons that only certain troubles can teach us. Those are the trials we must not avoid.
When our troubles overwhelm us we quickly tire of having so many lessons to learn. We may look at our troubles the same way Charlie Brown did one day at the beach. Charlie Brown, that lovable character of the comic strip “Peanuts,” was building a beautiful sandcastle. After working on it all day he stands back to admire his work when the castle is suddenly consumed by a huge wave.
Looking at the mound of sand that minutes before was his sandcastle, and with that familiar forlorn look on his face, Charlie Brown says, “There must be a lesson here, but I don’t know what it is.”
A positive attitude helps us learn the lessons the good Lord is teaching us through our troubles. Thomas Edison had the attitude we all need. Edison was 67 when he watched helplessly as his laboratory burned to the ground. Staring at the roaring fire, Edison said to his son, “Go get your mother quickly. She may never see a spectacular fire like this again.”
After watching his life’s work destroyed by the fire, Edison went to bed, slept well and the next morning called his staff together. He calmly said to them, “We will begin again; it will be better.” Like Edison, we can refuse to allow our troubles to defeat us. We can start over.
An army general had the right attitude. Zig Ziglar tells the story of a general who found himself completely surrounded by enemy troops. Rather than surrendering or panicking, the general turned to his soldiers and said, “Men, for the first time in the history of this military campaign, we are in position to attack the enemy in all directions." A sense of humor in a tough situation is a great asset!
We will all have moments when there seems to be no way out of the troubles we face. But in those times we can call upon the Lord to do what the song says he can do: “make a way where there is no way.” Often this may be the best prayer we can pray: “Lord, make a way where there is no way, and give me the courage to follow where you lead me.”
An easy life is not the answer. We learn more from our failures than our success. When times are hard we learn what really matters. Testing strengthens us and produces character.
I love a story that illustrates the attitude we need in order to learn and grow from life’s tribulations. The story begins with the British missionary Robert Moffatt who long ago explored Africa and became passionate about sharing the Gospel of Christ with that continent. Returning to England Moffatt said “I have stood on a mountain top in Africa and have seen the smoke of a thousand villages where no white man has ever been."
A young man named David Livingstone heard Moffatt utter those words and was motivated to answer the call. Livingstone went to Africa and plunged more deeply into the African jungles than anyone before him had ever dared. But an easy life it was not; lesser men would have given up, refusing to endure the missionary’s daily struggle to survive.
During Livingstone’s years in Africa some folks back in England offered to send others to help him, if "there is a good road to get to where you are." Livingstone’s reply became famous: "If the people you propose to send must have a good road to get here, then I cannot use them." People who require an easy road are poor students in the school of hard knocks.
When my flesh pleads for a trouble-free life, I need to remember that an easy life is not a good teacher. If I face trouble with the right attitude, and humbly ask the Lord to help me, I can become a better person while confronting the troubles I must not avoid. + + +