by Cliff Kosier
Recovery in a Broken World / Love; Trust; Trial; Prayer; God’s Power; Spiritual Discipline; El Roi / Psalm 63:1–4; Acts 16:22–30; John 16:33; Genesis 6:13
Patience in trouble is one of the most difficult emotions to master. How do we trust in a God that is invisible? Can we really trust him?
Patience in Trouble
Lack of Trust in God
This past year has presented us with challenges of being alone and has left us without the tools needed to navigate the turbulent waters before us. When trouble finds us, we find it difficult to rely on God to navigate these waters for us, so attempt to do this with our own strength. When God does not act as we want him, how do we remain patient in trouble?
Call of Nathaniel
When Jesus was beginning His ministry His disciples were all but patient. Those around wanted Him to act and correct the injustice done by the Roman government. Jesus response was often “it is not my time yet”. He taught patience in times of trouble.
What was the main point of Jesus’ ministry? It was that God had come to earth in human form to have a relationship with us. In our day and time we know this and have been told it many times, but in that day it would not have been what the disciples wanted to hear. They thought he would be a great warrior. There is a story in John describing the calling of Nathanael. Nathaniel also called Bartholomew was unsure about Jesus, but in Jesus’ own way He began a relationship with Him that would change His life.
Consider the following story.
45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46 Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”
48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
49 Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.”
John 1:45–49 NASB95
Notice that Nathaniel believed in Jesus only because He saw him under the fig tree. If you have watched The Chosen series about the life of Jesus, you may have noticed that they created a back story to Nathaniel. The fictional back story provides a place we can begin to comprehend how patience in time of trouble can be beneficial. The bible says that Phillip was a friend of Nathanial, but before Nathaniel sees Phillip and goes to Jesus, the fictional account creates a story where Nathaniel has gone through a great loss in his career. He is weeping under a fig tree and shouting to the heavens for God, Jehovah above not to turn His face from Him. He appears to have a great love for God but feels deserted by God. This wonderful backstory allows us to use our imagination to see the context of Jesus answer to the question by Phillips when he met Jesus. “How do you know me?” “Before Phillip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I SAW YOU.” El Roi, the God who sees. Wow Jesus saw Him when he was in despair under the fig tree? Now he is being called as one of the chosen twelve. I realize this is the work of someone’s imagination, but it’s just like Jesus to meet us where we are.
Intentional Spiritual Disciplines
How do we have patience in TROUBLE? By having an intentional relationship with Jesus.
I am convinced that intentional spiritual disciplines brings us to the feet of Jesus where we can find peace in His presence. One way I do this and have implemented in my day recently is to wake up, sit on the side of the bed with my palms turned up to heaven and say the following prayer.
Adonai (Lord), El Shaddai (God Almighty)
1 O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory.
3 Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you!
4 I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
Protect me and allow your presence to flow through me.
You are the God of the universe and I give this day to you for your glory.
So How do we have Patience in Trouble ?
Belief that God is in Control.
Do we believe that God is in control? If we believe that he is in control,
then why don’t we take time to intentionally pray in times of trouble.
Psalm 63:1–4 NLT
One Sunday a while back I was getting a little discouraged because everything was falling apart with the media. The screens were on the blip, the sound system seemed to be giving us a fit. Rick, one of our media assistants, made a comment to me that has stuck; well, he said, we must be doing something right that Satan does not want us to continue. Afterwards I wondered why my response was just to agree. I decided that we should have stopped right then and asked the Holy Spirit to intervene because God is in control. Oh I was praying in my soul, but we should have taken time to voice it aloud.
Prayer and Praise
So, the question remains, how do we exercise patience in times of trouble.
- We draw our spirit close to God’s spirit. Take time by ourselves and connect with Jesus through prayer and praise.
- Prayer and Praise –
Listen to this story about Paul and Silas and watch what they do in times of trouble.
Acts 16:22–30 NASB95
22 The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods.
23 When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely;
24 and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;
26 and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.
27 When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.
28 But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!”
29 And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas,
30 and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
Where is God in the Trouble?
Look for God
Watch for God to work in your situation. Constantly look for His movement and then seek to join Him in His kingdom’s work.
Jesus has overcome
John 16:33 NLT
33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
God will not let you go where He has not already gone. Trust Jesus to lead the way and provide the motivation you need to give him your situation so you can have peace of mind. Praise brings us closer to God, so when your situation seems bleak, praise God with all your heart and you might just be surprised at the outcome.