I was at the dermatologist’s office for my semi-annual cancer screening, wearing the gown that’s open at the back. My phone buzzed. “Please call me,” my wife texted in all caps. I called to find “someone” had left the lights on overnight in her car and the battery was dead. In the midst of helping her decide what to do, the doc and her entourage came into the exam room. I explained apologetically that I needed just a minute.
So while I completed the call, she began to probe my hinder parts with three female assistants looking on. I suppose it was no time for modesty as I dealt with the crisis of the dead battery and the potential crisis of precancerous spots!
The doctor whacked off two suspicious lesions that, fortunately, were benign, and a kindly neighbor pulled his truck into our driveway and jump started the car. So, we survived the crisis of the moment.
I thought how often trouble comes when we’re busy doing other things–trouble much worse than I experienced.
This happened in our church over the past months. A church member had a government agency show up at his business and declare he had to spend thousands of dollars for site improvements he’d not planned for. Another member went for a routine blood test. His doctor saw something he didn’t like and sent him to a specialist. Another person got a call that her mom in another state had fallen and needed brain surgery. A church staff member learned that a teen-ager in a former church was in an accident and died a few days later.
I’m sure every community of faith can recount seasons of difficulty.
In the midst of trouble we often feel no one cares about us. We may even feel abandoned by God. Phillip Yancey wrote, “Where Is God When It Hurts?”—a sentiment commonly expressed.
“Why is God letting this happen to me?” we think, and “What’s this all about? I’m trying to be the best person I can be.”
I frequently share Paul’s word in 2 Corinthians 1:4 at funeral services where families often feel this abandonment. Paul said in trouble we receive the “comfort of God.” We have the assurance that he cares for us whether we realize it at that moment or not.
Paul went on to say that we use the same comfort to comfort others in their time of need. Thus every experience of trouble is a stewardship. God gives us strength sufficient, and later we can confidently and lovingly share our testimony of endurance to encourage others in their trials.
Reflections is a weekly devotional column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster, Ala. The church’s website is siluriabaptist.com.