“Through many tribulations . . .” Acts 14:22
We never have to go looking for trouble, it will find us. Trouble is not a respecter of people. Trouble is troubling. It brings with it its own challenges. Trouble is also terrific. Adversity is a binding agent. Trials, tribulations, and trouble unite us to the strength of our Savior as well.
Look at the family who’s been through serious trials and you’ll see a family bound together more than they would be otherwise. Look at a church who’ve weathered the storm together and you’ll see a community welded together in a unity of spirit that could never be discovered in times of ease. The individual who has been through long periods of trials gained an understanding of others who are also in trouble.
Paul was the man who could speak about trials from firsthand experience. Since the day of his conversion his life had been one trial after another. Everywhere he went he was met with opposition. At first the disciples distrusted him, the religious elite hated him. Mark, one of his fellow ministers, had deserted him, and the townspeople had stoned him. If anybody knew what trouble was, Paul certainly did.
Trouble was transforming for Paul. He had reached down inside of his soul and found an eternal truth, one which sustained him throughout his ministry. Paul discovered trouble is the track to triumph. It was Paul who reassured the converts at Asia Minor that the only way to enter into the fullness of life was by way of trouble.
We may not like it, but there’s treasure in trouble. Trouble makes us more aware as nothing else that we are dependent on the power of God. As long as things go well we will never know the necessity of relying on God. But when trouble comes, we know exactly where we stand, that our resources are not enough, and that behind our self-sufficiency, we are in constant need of the power of God.
How does staying dependent on God strengthen your faith in Him?