One of my favorite authors, ND Wilson, spoke a while ago on being created for trouble. So anything said here out is probably my restatement of what he said, but I agreed with much of what he said.
Before Adam and Eve sinned, what happened? There was a snake in the garden. Before Adam and Eve had done anything wrong, they were given adversity. What do we make of this? How do we understand this?
I believe we can understand this by understanding that God gave himself a big bag of trouble when he created everything. Before anything God created was existing, God was enjoying himself, being himself, loving himself, and in harmony with himself. The love between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit was and is infinite. Before there was anything, God had no trouble, nothing to fight against, nothing to fight for, and nothing that needed his sovereign working. That is not to say in order for God to be God he needed to create something. No. I don’t agree with that philosophical approach. God needed nothing to be Himself.
It is still true that there wasn’t anything that called for his constant attention, besides himself and his love for himself. Yet, God created a world, knowing full well he was giving himself a whole lot of trouble. In fact, in Ephesians 1:3 (as we read about in a previous post), we see that God planned to have a chosen people in Christ, even before he created. What this means is that God had planned to give himself the biggest kind of trouble. Trouble that the world has never thought up on its own, and will never see again when Christ returns.
God gave himself trouble. He planned for trouble. He, dare I say it, looked for trouble?
This fact has implications for our lives. Massive implications. Encouraging implications. Great and good implications. For example: have you ever felt like the world is against you and working against you? The truth is, it is. There is all sorts of adversity, problems, and trouble coming at you everyday, much which may be a result of sin in the world but not a direct result of your sin. This means we must deal with trouble. We fight trouble and work out the trouble. We subdue. We rule. We multiply.
And if that isn’t convincing enough, think about what Paul says when he tell us Christians that God works all things together for our good. Let’s state the obvious: Paul isn’t saying “God works all the good things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.” He says, all things, because it’s obvious the good things are for our good, but it’s not so obvious that the bad things, the trouble, the death, the pestilence, the nakedness, the peril, the sword and the like are all also for our good.
Why is it for our good? How can be bad things for our good? Well, the same way the trouble God planned for is being worked for His ultimate end of glorifying Himself. The trouble is being used to edify, sharpen, shape, mold, and demonstrate our character. Some trouble is more troublesome and difficult than other trouble. My trouble in America is nothing compared to the trouble Christians in other countries go for. My trouble is slow internet. My trouble is clicking the share button. My trouble is making sure I have enough to pay bills. As well as the host of other “first world problems.”
Christians in other countries trouble is being beheaded, losing their livelihood, and their family being destroyed for believing and trusting in Christ.
What should this reality mean for me? This reality means that I should be just as bold, if not even more than those Christians in those countries where they will die for their faith. It means that I ought to work more diligently, more hard, and subdue even more because I have been given much more ground to freely work with. I should make sure this side of the planet submits to the Lordship of Christ, and subdue and rule these spheres, praying that my diligence and work that I do for the Lord here will truly have eternal impact and maybe one day affect the lives of those who are persecuted.
It’s easy for us to get discouraged because we are given tons of trouble, problems, sins to deal with, relationships that are difficult, and things that are discouraging. However, we live in America. There is plenty of trouble. And that means much to work and subdue. There are Christians suffering around the world today. That means acting in such a way to subdue our plots, and then holding ropes for others to subdue those areas.
We are given lots of trouble. That’s not a cause for despair. We shouldn’t think that because the world is getting worse, we need to do less and pray more for Christs return. No. Let’s pray for Christ’s return, but also that he tarry so more come to know Him. We should think that because the world is getting worse that there is more for us to do to be more like Christ, more trouble to work out, more adversity to win against.
We are Jack the giant killer. The problems in this world are huge. They’re enormous. And we are weak little peons that only have the weapon of the Gospel. The world laughs at our weapons and yet they also fall because of our weapon.