Insight 9:

Trained in a Tight Corner
The Tool of Trouble (1)



Sitting in our pastor’s study some weeks ago I picked a concordance off the shelf and looked up the word ‘Trouble.’  It was rather like looking up Smith, Jones or Brown in a telephone directory (or Leask, Goodlad and Tait if you happen to live in Shetland)! Trouble, in one form or another, features prominently in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Jesus warned us bluntly, “In this world you will have trouble.” The good news is how He continued that message:  “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

In Psalm 40:12, David speaks about being surrounded by troubles without number. He acknowledges that many of these were of his own making, but we know that he faced many external difficulties too. Look elsewhere and you will that although trouble often slowed David down, it did not succeed in stopping him altogether. Often, it was trouble that propelled him into seeking the Lord with the urgency that he did.  

Take Psalms 3;1, 41, 7:1, 10:1, 11:1, 12:1, 13:1, 17:1 for instance. As the psalms develop, urgent complaint and inner desperation are gradually replaced by expressions of trust and praise that the Lord will find a way forward, even where there appears to be no way.  

Beyond that come those wonderful moments when the power of God breaks through. Phil Buechler reminded us this summer that once we have broken through into one new area of anointing, it is usually much easier to break through again. This is where occasional grace can become a regular ministry.

It is delightful to refer to the great deliverances of the Bible - Daniel in the lion's den, Shadrach and Co. from their ordeal in the fiery furnace, Peter in prison and due to be beheaded the next morning and so on. But that can be a bit like watching the ‘Match of the Day’ highlights. Few of us find it easy when pressing fears or trouble come our way and we have no idea how things are going to turn out.  

When trouble strikes, what we have sown comes home to roost. These are the times which test the resilience and the purity of the crop we have planted. Scripture is abundantly clear that we shall reap as we sow. 

Have you noticed how easy it is to grow weeds? No need to attend any courses or read any gardening manuals; they spring up all too effortlessly. In our own life there may be many weeds;  things that aren’t necessarily wrong in themselves but which will prove insufficient - unhelpful even - when trouble comes our way. We shall be looking in this series at examples of how the Lord can use even times of trouble to further His purposes - and what we need to be sowing in order to produce a better crop.  

To quote again from Jesus’ words in John’s gospel, “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves Me.”  (John 12:25-26)  

Isn’t it a relief that God is never taken by surprise? There is no energy shortage in heaven - and no limit to the number of tight corners the Lord can deliver us from.

He is the Lord of the breakthrough.  

Here is a simple prayer we can take to heart and to get the series under way.   


You are no stranger to trouble.
From the moment of Your birth
You were beset by people who wanted to trip You up and hunt
      You down.
Grant us faith and resilience in the face of life’s many troubles,
Discernment to recognise what it going on,
Willingness to be trained by it,
And deeper compassion for those who are experiencing serious
Pour out Your strength and wisdom on all in need of help today;
Show Yourself to be the Lord of the breakthrough.

In Jesus’ name, and for His glory,

     <<<back to top                                                        more Insights>>>