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everyday life inside the fishbowl

Worthy Word Wednesday: Peace in Times of Trouble

on October 16, 2013

peace in troubleHow do we have peace when outside pressures, let alone our own hearts, trouble us? Paul David Tripp spoke to this at a conference I attended recently. He said, “No one is more influential on yourself than you are. You talk to yourself more than anyone else. During a crisis, what gospel do you preach to yourself?”

He pointed us to Psalm 27, such a beautiful, encouraging psalm. The psalmist was very honest, as he always was when he poured his heart out to God. His trouble was clear:

Psa 27:2-3  When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.

Tripp pointed to the fact that biblical faith never requires us to deny reality. David did not sugar-coat his troubles in order to make himself feel better: “When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh. . .” David’s life was far from “functional.” Yet, David had faith.

Tripp’s point was that “Peace in trouble begins with rich biblical theology and Scriptural knowledge.

Psa 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

But notice that David’s knowledge of God was not cold book knowledge alone. Tripp said that “Grace has connected me to light, salvation, stronghold.” The Lord is my light. . .

So, what does David do next? How does he get peace from this knowledge? Tripp said that “Peace in trouble is rooted in the worship of God.”

Psa 27:4-6  One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD.

Tripp went on to say, “There exists in God a greater beauty than any ugly situation in life. You will never understand your troubles properly until you view them through the lens of the stunning beauty of the Lord. . . . Peace in times of trouble is rooted in the worship of God.”

Tripp encouraged us not to meditate on the sinful, painful realities of life, for these realities are not our identity. He said, “If your suffering captures your meditation, your suffering will be worse because your heart is not captured instead by God’s beauty.”

He then went on to draw our attention to the example of Abraham, as referenced in Romans 4:18-21. Abraham, though fully aware of reality–his old age–grew stronger in faith over time because he meditated on God and his promises of a child and a whole multitude of descendents.

So, what do we actually do when trouble comes to our doors (because it will!)? Tripp concluded his message with 4 practical helps:

  1. Gaze (not on your trouble) on the beauty of the Lord and let your heart be filled with the grandness of his beauty.
  2. Remember that God’s beauty, by grace is for you (my Light, my Salvation). Remember your identity in Christ!
  3. Rest (never in your own understanding or ability) in the One who rules all and understands all.
  4. Act – Because you are now living in the reality of who God is and who you are by grace, and you are resting in God, you can now act accordingly.

Here is the conclusion to David’s psalm:

Psa 27:7-14  Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in. Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence. I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

We all have ugly situations in our lives. This is reality, and dwelling on their ugliness is not going to make them less ugly. May we remind ourselves and those we love who are troubled to dwell, instead, on the beauty of the Lord!

You can watch or hear Tripp’s message or read the script, entitled “Troubled People Helping Troubled People.”

{On Wednesdays, I share from a book, blog, or other resource some “worthy words.” I love to read, but my time for reading has been much decreased since the birth of my first child. I am encouraged when I am able to read snippets of precious truth as I come across them. Hopefully these few words will encourage your heart, as well as give you a resource for fuller reading as your time allows.}

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One response to “Worthy Word Wednesday: Peace in Times of Trouble

  1. Linda Huffstutler says:

    Good thoughts! May we look unto Him with faith and confidence in His love during times of trial and stress.

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