Kudzu, Combines and Bats
There are always things that make living in this world difficult. It may be that you are dealing with sickness, or your loved one is sick. Kudzu might be trying to take over the church parking lot. The combine might be broken down right when you need it the most. There might be bats in the attic causing lots of damage and misery. All you have to do is watch television, read a newspaper, or go to the grocery store and you know that our economy is not getting better. Many in our church family have dealt with and are dealing with struggles. Utilities are higher than ever. Things have really changed in our world. What a blessing it is to be a Christian in a world that is filled with difficulties. (Acts 11:26) God’s people should deal with difficulties much differently than the world does because we have something they do not have. (John 14:27) Jesus Christ has given us a peace that passes all understanding. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7) Christians are those who have set their hearts to obey God regardless of the circumstances in life. Our attitude must be that expressed by the people in the days of Joshua. They said, “The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.” (Joshua 24:24) We must deal with difficult things with character and be a good example in the Kingdom of God.
Kudzu, combines and bats are minor things when compared to the much more serious things of this life. Horrible things happen in life. Accidents take the life of our loved ones. Our children are afflicted with terrible diseases, tornadoes and hurricanes come with much devastation, marriages dissolve in divorce, children are raped and murdered and people lose all their life’s savings because of corporation, fraud and greed. The list of adversities that hit people every day could go on and on. No one is immune from the storms that come in earthly life. Earthly problems provide motivation for us to want to go to heaven where, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4) Both the Old Testament and the New Testament remind us of the faithfulness of God to help His people in uncertain times. In Habakkuk 3:17-19 we read, "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength..." Most of the important and life-changing lessons we learn are learned during difficult times. In the New Testament we read, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19) Paul wrote these words from a Roman prison cell. He did not allow the circumstances he was in to bring defeat into his life. He had something to cling to and someone to look to in his troubles.
Kudzu, combines, bats and much more serious troubles are and will be a part of our earthly life. It is not a matter of “If” troubles will come, but “When” will troubles come and how will we deal with them when they do. Troubles are a natural part of the human experience. We should use the troubles of this life as a time to draw closer to God. If we use our troubles to get closer to God there might come some great good from them that we cannot even see or imagine at the moment. Troubles allow God to do amazing works in our life. People often grow more spiritually in those times of trouble than any other time in their life. Our troubles might be the tool that can be used to bring others to Christ. Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) The Lord wants to help you deal with your troubles! The psalmist said, “My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:2) When trouble comes the right thing to do is to cry out to the Lord for help. The Bible says, “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18) The Christian should and must pray to God during times of trouble. Each new problem calls for renewed trust in our God. We have assurance that He is able to help. The Lord is there for us. He has offered us help. So therefore, “I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” (Psalm 18:3)
Prepare for Kudzu, combines, bats and the much more serious troubles in earthly life. What is the correct Christian response when things go wrong? Our hurts and disappointments can extend into all areas of our lives. We must deal with problems from a Christian perspective. Christians should always be aware that people are watching us as we deal with the problems of life. It is imperative that we live a true Christian life with the integrity of our Christian faith in every circumstance of life. Those who are properly able to handle troubles are those who put God first. (Matthew 6:33) We must know God in order to really trust Him and consequently turn things over to Him and not worry in times of troubles. (Philippians 4:6-7) Do your best to live with and walk with our heavenly Father. (Ephesians 5:2) As we learn to trust God more we are not so affected by disappointment. Please do not wait until you are in the midst of some struggle to begin seeking God. Put Him first now! Live a lifestyle that shows your love for God. Trust God enough that you are willing to always be led by His word. “Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.” (Psalms 119:148) Being watchful and meditating on God’s word helps prepare you for troubles. How much do you know about God and how strong are your priorities focused on eternity? We must have to have a genuine trust in God or else we will be adversely affected by bad things that happen in our life. God will not fail us! “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) There is neither hope nor real help without God! There is no denying the fact that disappointments hurt. When problems, disappoints and hurts come there are some things that I can do. If I am a Christian I can find hope and encouragement from the scriptures; I can find love and fellowship and sport from my brethren; and I can find hope in the resurrection and eternal life to come.
Troubles will come and God can help you to respond wisely when they do. Spiritual growth, strength and great good can come out of the worst of troubles. Never allow your troubles to move you away from God. He has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) Prepare for the troubles of life by becoming a Christian and by standing strong in the Lord. To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17); believe in Jesus (John 8:24); repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, (Romans 10:9-10)’ and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Timothy 2:19)
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037