Are You Up to Your Eyeballs in Trouble?
If you’re reading this, it’s almost certain you’re at one of three places right now:
in the midst of trouble
just emerging from trouble
headed into trouble
Rarely do any of us bask in flowery beds of ease for any length of time while living on this earth. Instead, we often find ourselves up to our eyeballs in trouble of one sort or another.
It’s a fact of life: when God opens the windows of heaven to bless us, the devil opens the doors of hell to blast us. When God begins moving, the devil fires up his artillery.
So…what do we do? Just fold up and go away? No, we’re to stand up and pray. God didn’t call us to failure but to victory. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ established that victory. We’ll have victory when we learn how to face our battles.
There’s a perfect example in the Old Testament of what to do when trouble overwhelms us. In 2 Chronicles 20, right on the heels of a wonderful national revival, incredible destruction threatened to wipe out God’s people.
Three powerful foreign kings had joined forces to destroy the kingdom of Judah. This wasn’t a bump in the road; they faced certain death. Here’s what they did.
1. See Your Battle as God Sees It
When you encounter a problem, see it as it really is: a blessing in disguise. Before you say, “There you go with that “happiness talk” preachers always give in a time of crisis,” look at the Apostle what James said:
My brethren, consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing this: that the trying [testing] of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:2)
God doesn’t allow problems to come to you to hurt you but to build you.
2. Set Your Focus: Seek the Lord
Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, faced a three-pronged enemy attack. All of us, Christian or not, face three enemies in life: sin, sorrow, and death.
He called a convocation of fasting and prayer (2 Chronicles 20:3-4). Prayer was not their last resort. It was their first resource.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these [other] things will be added unto you. ((Matthew 6:33)
But most of us want to use God as our spare tire, not our steering wheel, waiting till we have a spiritual blowout to see if God will rescue us.
Why does God allow us to have problems? To cause us to seek Him! If we never had problems, most of us wouldn’t.
Be honest. When have you grown the most? When everything was fine? No. God was nearest and most real to you when you agonized in prayer and found Him to be faithful. King David said the same thing: “Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress” (Psalm 4:1).
God allows tears and turmoil to bring us to Him. That’s when we seek Him.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14
3. Examine your past
Stop and remember those times when He was with you. What He did before, He will do again. He has never failed you, nor will He fail you.
Looking back, King Jehoshaphat reminded the Lord of His power and what He’d done in the past: “God, You have all power over the nations. You gave this land to Abraham. You drove out our enemies. You’ve done it before.” He ends in this beautiful appeal:
…for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon Thee. (v. 12)
Jehoshaphat says, “Lord, You told us if we would seek Your face, You would hear and deliver us. Now I’m reminding You of Your promise. You gave us this land, and this crowd has come to kick us out of the land You’ve given us.”
He is the Lord. He doesn’t change. He didn’t die for you just to abandon you. Remember His past faithfulness.
4. Embrace God’s Promises
The devil would love to kick you out of the land of victory into the wilderness of defeat. But you don’t have to take it. God gives us victory in Jesus Christ. Embrace a promise from God and stand on that promise.
“…for He hath said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper…” (Hebrews 13:5)
“He hath said…that we may boldly say.” Find something God has said and say it boldly. That’s what Jehoshaphat did: “God, because You said it, I’m going to boldly say it. I’m not going to let these people take away what You have given.” He found a promise and stood on it.
5. Enlist God’s Protection
“And Judah stood before the LORD with their little ones, their wives, and their children.” (v.13)
Stand saying, “God, we don’t know what to do, but we have a promise from You. Our eyes are not on our enemy or on circumstances, but on You. If we die, we’re going to die with our eyes on You.”
God will not forsake people like this. He answered:
Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but the LORD’S…. And ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD….” (v.15-17)
God answers, “It’s all right. The battle is not yours.”
6. Prayer and Praise: The Two Wings of Spiritual Power
The battle never has been yours. But you’re going to have a part in it. Your part is praise. You can’t hide until the battle is over and then praise the Lord.
Don’t be this person:
“When You give me the victory, I’m gonna praise You.”
GOD: “You’re not going to have victory until you start praising.”
“I can’t praise yet. I don’t have victory yet.”
GOD: “All right. I’m not going to do anything yet.”
“I can’t praise God in the middle of my problems!”
GOD: “Okay, live with them.”
Lack of praise when we pray is unbelief. Until we learn to praise God in our troubles, we’ll live with them.
Begin praising before the victory, not after. Ultimate faith is when we say, “God, we don’t know how You’re going to do it, but You’re bigger than this problem. Therefore, I praise You.”
7. Praise Confuses Your Enemies
As Judah began to praise and worship, a strange thing happened. The enemies turned against themselves.
Something about praise sends the enemy into confusion. It’s a pattern in the Bible. When His people say “Our eyes are upon You,” God sends confusion to the enemy. Never forget: God allows problems to bring us to Himself.
10 Things to Do When Trouble Comes
Learn to see all satanic opposition as an opportunity.
Seek the face of God before taking any action. This may include fasting.
Remember those times when God has already shown Himself faithful to you.
Go to the Word of God and look for a promise to stand on.
Let the Holy Spirit make that promise a burning reality in your heart.
Refuse any confidence in the flesh; put your eyes upon God.
Give yourself to worship.
Then begin to praise God in the face of opposition.
Expect God to send confusion to the enemy.
Get ready for a blessing.
It’s true that after a while you and your spouse can get so used to one another…so caught up in the day-to-day routines and so distracted that you may lose sight of just how much your mate means to you. It only takes one crisis, some catastrophe to realize it. Don’t let that happen. Dr. Rogers brings a refresher course so that you can communicate love to your spouse effectively.All Sermons by Adrian Rogers