Everyone Has Issues: Some Practical Thoughts
written by Jimmy Newkirk, Associate Pastor (October 16, 2022)
When dealing with matters of the heart, tread lightly, you're on sacred ground. We must remember, every person has issues. Every family has issues. There are none exempt.
Problems happen. Whether stress at work or conflict at home, from health to heartache, from friends to finance, we all struggle. We cannot assume all is well, even when we see a smiling face. Unfortunately, we are all too practiced at the response, “I’m doing great, how are you?”.
God has certainly not promised a life of comfort. To the contrary, the Bible speaks in general terms as though troubles will exist and at no point are we told that troubles will not exist in this life. Regardless of our current state, 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 instructs us to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”.
So what do we do when we face difficulties? While certainly not a comprehensive list, here are a few suggestions:
Ask ourselves some questions:
Is this a trial from God to help strengthen our trust in Him?
Is this a result of our own sin or the sin of others?
To what degree do we have influence in the situation?
How may we best honor God through these circumstances?
Pray that God would help you answer the questions above.
Pray that God would show you how you are to respond.
Be thankful that God is with you in your times of trouble and that He hasn't given you more than you can handle in His power.
As we pray, we can ask God to relieve us of the troubles we’re facing, but regardless of whether He does or not, pray that God will strengthen you as face troubles in faith.
Pray for those who may be causing difficulty in your life.
The circumstances of this world are temporary.
God disciplines His children when they are in sin.
God allows trials to teach us to depend on Him.
God knows what we're going through, He knows our thoughts and struggles, and He knows the opportunities He has for us.
God walks with us through the difficult times as well as the good times.
If you are in harms way, get to a safe place and seek help.
Talk to a trusted friend who can both give wise counsel and maintain your need for confidentiality.
Get counseling. I would be happy to help you talk through your difficulties or help you find a professional counselor as appropriate.
Be honest with yourself and admit the burden's you're carrying.
If your troubles are a result of your own sin, ask God to help you repent and break the pattern of rebellion and the illusion of self-sufficiency.
Read and meditate on God’s promises. Think on what God has told you in His word and in your time of prayer. Follow His instructions.
Memorize and meditate on scripture. God’s Word is living and transformative. In our mind, it is a tool in our spiritual tool belt, at the ready to strengthen us.
Reflect on how Jesus handled troubles. Jesus is much more than a model for us, but He is certainly a model. Follow Jesus' pattern of behavior as we’ve seen Him relate to God the Father and to others.
Lean hard on God’s promises to restore and protect you. Psalm 139 reflects on how completely God knows us and, in v5, “You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me.”
Consider who God is and what He has done. Tony Merida said it this way, “When your tank is empty, remember the tomb is empty.”
Remember, God will not tell you to do something that is contrary to what He has instructed in the Bible. For example, if you are having problems relating to or communicating with your spouse, God will not tell you to seek marital comfort with someone else.
Give thanks. It may seem strange to think that we should be thankful as we go through difficult times, but we should recognize that God has allowed these things and He will ultimately be glorified through them.
Bill Mutz made the brilliant observation that “God does not protect us from the things that He will perfect us through.” We all have issues. We are to grow in and through them, giving glory to God throughout. He has allowed us to go through difficulties so that we can help others going through similar circumstances. Our misery can be used in ministry. As you encounter others facing troubles, speak truth in grace. Be gentle. Be reminded: you represent Christ as you engage with a fellow image bearer of God. Tread lightly, you're on sacred ground.