When the righteous cry for help,
the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.
Have you ever thought of troubles and trials as blessings? We can’t avoid difficulties, we all have them. Problems will multiply because we are Christ-followers. But can troubles be blessings? I think so. Like the rain in the midst of a drought, difficulties and trials can be the thing we need to turn our focus on Jesus during a spiritual drought.
The weather has been hot and dry where I live. There were days and weeks with no rain. Brief periods of precipitation fell on areas all around us, but we never got a drop. The grass is turned yellow, and I watered my yard and flowers so much the water company called to see if there was a “problem.” Without rain, the ground turned hard, and the dust blew through the air. Despite my constant watering and attention, and my water bill proves I tried, everything was dying. You get the picture–the weather was dry, and the ground was thirsty.
When I thought all hope of refreshment was gone, the weatherman predicted rain. Usually, I would be annoyed with a forecast of rain, especially over the weekend. I have plans. Not this time, I welcomed the rain. Let it rain, let it rain.
If we don’t pay attention to our spiritual lives, we can also suffer a drought. Our spiritual lives can get like our summer weather. Dry.
Life can get crazy. So, we might spend time reading the Word, but with no real devotion. We miss church a few times thinking, “No problem, it’s just this once.” Then, little by little, we feel God’s presence disappear. Less joy. Less peace. God’s absence and our apathy become a habit. Languishing in the absence of trials and troubles, we begin to wander away from God.
Sometimes I need bumps in the road to keep me alert on the journey. Sometimes I need rain to bring back the growth. Sometimes I need trials to turn me to back to Jesus.
I needed some rain, so God sent troubles that turned my heart toward Him. These troubles reminded me I need God, that without Him I am empty and unable. So difficulties are blessings in disguise. He doesn’t leave us without an umbrella when trials pour down like rain either. God is there in the dry spells and the downpours. What an amazing truth that the One True God, God Almighty, will not leave me high and dry.
The apostles knew troubles, too, yet considered each trial a blessing. Jesus’ half-brother James writes, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, and sisters when you face trials of many kinds…” (James 1:2) Troubles, trials, and difficulties help us rely on God and remain in His presence. Next time it rains on your life, and you are in the midst of a storm, look for the blessing of God’s presence and experience His love, grace, mercy, and peace.
Father God, thank you for rain, both for the earth and for our hearts. Every time we encounter a trial or trouble, remind us to look to you and be grateful. For you are in the good days and the hard days. Amen.