Too many of us find our troubles Bear instead of Bull Markets.

Why? Because we don’t face them as Grace Focused Optimists.

Why not? Because we don’t listen to what God tells us about them.

The point is not that we don’t listen to some of what God says about our troubles. It’s worse. We don’t listen to anything he says. If you’re not listening to everything God says about your troubles you can no more be optimistic about them than you can be healthy without all of your vital organs functioning properly.

The Benefits of Pain

We saw in post one that the first thing we don’t listen to God telling us about our troubles is the fact that we will have them. “In the world you will have tribulation” Jesus says (John 16:33). He’s telling us that troubles are as sure as rain in Seattle, ice in the Arctic, and Satan’s defeat at Jesus’ return. We need to listen to him.

The second thing we need to listen to is God’s assurance that handled properly, our troubles, while painful, are beneficial.

Our troubles are painful. God doesn’t put this hard fact in size 2 font in a footnote in the back pages of his Word. He puts it in the font of the HOLLYWOOD sign in LA. You can’t get any clearer than, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant” (Hebrews 12:11).

Four Truths about our Troubles

But there are pain-management truths that accompany the Great Physician’s blunt “This is going to hurt” which, if ingested by faith, take the edge off any pain we experience.

Truth One:

God gives us his word that our troubles are for our good. “He disciplines us for our good” (Hebrews 12:10). The God who cannot lie, who demonstrates that his word is his bond by refusing to renege on his toughest promise by allowing his Son to become a curse for us, promises us that every trouble we face is penicillin not poison, a scalpel not a dagger, a friend not a foe.

Are we listening?

Truth Two:

God calls us to thank him no matter what’s going on in our lives: “Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). Don’t pull the elastic out of the words “always” and “for everything.” They mean what they say. They stretch around our worse troubles. And this fact that we’re to be thankful for our troubles assures us they’re for our good just as a doctor assures a patient that he should be grateful for the bypass surgery that’s going to save his life.

Are we listening?

Truth Three:

God calls us to rejoice no matter what’s going on in our lives: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). Rejoicing has a higher pay grade than gratitude. The prodigal’s father was grateful and glad to have his son home. And we’re told here that we’re to add gladness to our gratitude for our troubles. God wouldn’t ask us to rejoice when trouble’s ships sail into our port if they weren’t carrying the cargo of good.

Are we listening?

Truth Four:

God tells us the specific good that our troubles offer us is the opportunity of becoming more like Jesus. “He disciplines us for our good that we may share his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). We share in God’s holiness by becoming like Jesus. Becoming more like Jesus is the BEST thing that can happen to us. The more like Jesus we become the more we will glorify and enjoy God. The more like Jesus we become the more we will help others. But there is no more possibility of becoming like Jesus without trouble than there is of going to heaven without trusting in Jesus.

Are we listening?

Our troubles are gifts, blessings, privileges sent from our loving Father to make us like his beloved Son so that we can eventually experience perfect and permanent happiness.

Counterintuitive, huh?

Are you listening?

Are you living wisely by serving Jesus? Download our free Bible Study on being useful: No Little People


2 Responses to Facing Difficulty as a Grace Focused Optimist, Part 2
  1. […] says something similar to us about our trials. As we saw in the second post of this series, God assures us that he “disciplines us for our good, that we may share his […]

  2. […] previous posts on Hebrews 12:5-13 we’ve seen that trials are as certain as rain in Seattle; as potentially profitable as a big day on Wall Street; yet as easily mishandled as a poisonous snake in the hands of a […]


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