“When [the people of Israel] came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.)” (Exodus 15:23)
“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray…” (James 5:13a)
Although God’s mercies are new every morning, none of us knows what a day will bring. That’s why James, in his New Testament letter, asks the question: Is any one of you in trouble? This is “real talk” from the Word of God, because trouble can come in your family or outside your family; and it can happen at any moment. But James also provides the solution: If you’re in trouble, pray!
So we’re to run to God in prayer—not just petitioning him and telling him our needs, but getting into his presence whether we kneel or we sit or we stand, and saying, “Lord, I’m in trouble! Satan has won this battle in my life… This temptation is too much for me… I’ll never forgive him or her for doing that… I can’t let go of this bitterness… People may not see it, but it’s not going well for me right now.” And then, after we talk to him, we need to just wait in his presence; because God brings comfort when we’re in trouble. We have to start with him, because a lot of trouble leaves scar tissue; and nobody can heal those scars except Jesus. That’s why James says, “Is any one of you in trouble? Let him pray.” Get to God, and let him minister to you. He’s either going to take you out of the trouble or he’s going to bring you through the trouble—and you’ll be better off for it.
God is on the throne, but things can go from bad to worse if we don’t bring our trouble to God. Just look at the stories in the Bible. Some people were sanctified by trouble, and it brought them closer to God. Unfortunately, others questioned God and ended up grumbling and complaining and getting bitter. Do you remember the story of the Israelites in the wilderness? God permitted trouble to come their way. He brought them to a place called Marah, where the water was bitter. They should have said, “Wait a minute! He delivered us out of Egypt; so right now our experience is a little bitter, but he’ll bring us through yet again!” Instead, they started to complain and murmur, and they never made it to the Promised Land… All because of trouble, which is either the making or the downfall of most people.
Do you know that we actually learn much more about God when we’re in trouble than when we’re blessed? When we’re blessed, of course, we learn that God is merciful and good. That’s about it. But in times of trouble, we learn that he’s patient, and that he can touch us in our innermost being where no one else can touch us.
Someone reading this may have a broken heart right now, and no one can get to that place of brokenness but the Lord. Dear brother or sister, you’ve got to pray. Satan will try to block you, because he doesn’t want you to sit in God’s presence where so many things get worked out. Tell him, right now: “God, you know the trouble I’m in. I’m going to sit in your presence; and I’m going to worship you through tears, because you’re worthy. But it hurts, God, and I don’t understand it right now. I need you, Lord!”
Is anyone in trouble? Let him pray. God brings comfort, God brings healing, God brings miracles, God brings grace…
To be continued…
Read James 5:13; Exodus 15:22-27.