Is Anyone in Trouble? – Part 2
“… Let him pray.” (James 5:13 NIV)
Is everyone happy and giddy all the time? Of course not. The Bible does say that all things work together for our good, but it isn’t always pleasant; and James acknowledges that in his New Testament letter when he asks, “Is any one of you in trouble?” That’s how honest God’s Word is.
Unfortunately, we’ve been brainwashed into an American gospel that says that if you serve God you won’t have trouble. But trouble is real, whether it is a result of our own sowing and reaping or the actions and words of others or what God allows Satan to throw at us at different times in our lives. There are all kinds of trouble, including financial, physical, emotional, and mental distress. Trouble can be personal; and it can impact entire nations and the world as a whole.
Regardless of when or how it comes, here’s the antidote to it all, according to God’s Word: “Is anyone in trouble? Let him pray.” Don’t complain, don’t moan, don’t groan, don’t get depressed, don’t just read a verse by rote. James says simply, “Pray.” The instinct of the early church was this: Trouble? Pray. You would think we would be praying all the time, since there’s so much trouble in the world; but, somehow, we have lost that message. Why else would churches have no prayer meetings? In fact, there are hardly any places where people gather to just pray, even though God said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.”
People don’t want to talk about trouble. We want to run from it, disown it, deny it, get involved in some kind of mental gymnastics in order to get around it; but life can hurt sometimes. So James asks, “Is any one of you in trouble?” How in the world can God help us unless we admit we’re in trouble? We’ve bought into this positive confession whereby you create reality by saying words. You don’t create anything through your words. You have a wayward child or the doctor finds something wrong in your CAT scan—this is what happens sometimes in life, and you and I will never understand it all until we see the Lord.
James has a simple formula for us yet we often miss out on it. Instead of running to God in trouble, we call friends or anyone we can find, we lament it, we get rancorous and ask, “Why me?” But James says, “No, the minute trouble hits us, it’s a messenger from Jesus that says to me, ‘Pray, bring me your trouble.’” He might even say, “I permitted the trouble, because you’ve lost your first love. You used to serve me. You used to live in your Bible, but now you don’t even pick up my Word; so I allowed trouble in your life in order to get your attention before you shipwreck your life.” God is so amazing, that he can even take the attacks of the enemy, which bring us trouble, and he can turn them around if we give them to him, as he did in the life of Joseph in the Old Testament (Genesis 50:20). Thus we can say, “All things work together for good to those who love God”… even Satan’s attacks.
So what does God do when we run to him in prayer?
To be continued…