Do you remember when most people actually wore wrist watches to tell time?
Back then, there was a famous commercial series from the “Timex” brand here in the U.S.
To show how durable a Timex was, the commercials put the watch in all kinds of trouble.
The watch was:
- Dropped into a paint mixer
- Frozen in an ice cube tray
- Spun around in a vacuum cleaner
- Attached to an arrow tip and shot through a glass pane
- Swallowed by a cow in Texas
Because the watch was always still working even after the trials it had gone through, the commercials ended with the phrase, “Timex – It takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’!”
If you are going through trials and tribulation right now, wouldn’t you benefit from advice from a “Timex” person? That’s what I call the apostle Paul!
He wrote the book on how to overcome trials and tribulations.
In 2 Corinthians 11:24-28, Paul writes about all the trouble he endured on his journeys to spread the gospel:
“From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.”
The last statement shows Paul’s “why” – the reason he endured all of the trouble. If most of us had to endure what Paul did, we would have said, “Forget this; this is too hard. I am going home!”
But because of Paul’s love for the church and his desire to please God, he stayed the course.
So your first step in triumphing over trials and tribulation is to determine your “why?” Why is it important to you to stand strong to the end?
I know my “why”…At the end of my life, I want to hear God say “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord!”
In Romans 5:1-5, Paul also gives us a picture of some of the benefits of going through trouble.
While I don’t advise looking for it, sometimes trouble finds you anyway! So when you find yourself asking, “Why Lord?” remember this scripture:
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
From these scriptures, here are some things to remember when you are going through trouble:
- Your faith in God through Jesus Christ makes you righteous before Him.
- You have peace with God. He is not out to get you.
- Through Jesus, you have access to God’s grace. All of God’s character is made available to you – receive it by faith.
As a result, you can rejoice in the hope of God’s glory (honor and praise).
But Paul even goes further than that. He said that he gloried in trouble! How in the world can you get pleasure out of trials and tribulations?
Now trouble itself doesn’t feel good, but it can yield good results:
- Tribulation produces perseverance (endurance, steadfastness)
To me, trouble can only produce good results when you have the right attitude about it.
Many people do not endure when trouble comes. They give up and quit at the first sign of trouble.
That is a heart issue, which is why having a strong “why” is so important from the beginning.
In addition, you need to know and practice God’s word. Jesus taught about the importance of obeying His word in Luke 6:46-49:
“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”
The only difference between the person with Rock-solid faith and the person with Wishy-washy faith is the person with Rock-solid faith put into practice what he heard!
- Perseverance produces character
If you endure trouble, then the next benefit is that it produces character in you. A person of character is one of integrity, who walks their talk.
A person of character is one that you can count on.
Character produces an optimistic attitude, expecting a positive outcome to whatever happens. A person of character believes God’s word that says:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).”
- Character produces hope
Hope does not disappoint because we know that God loves us. The Holy Spirit pours out God’s love within our hearts. Our trials may not be good, yet God will work good out of them.
Stand strong in the midst of trouble. Get your “why,” get your “Word,” and you will get your victory over trials and tribulations!