1 Thessalonians 3:3 “so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them.”
The college where I teach recently presented Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man. One of the songs, “Ya Got Trouble” and the cast’s splendid performance of it keeps going through my mind. Fast-talking, snake-oil salesman Harold Hill warns the townsfolk that trouble’s heading their way and the mayor’s pool hall stands as proof…look, folks! Right here in River City. Trouble with a capital “T” and that rhymes with “P” and that stands for pool! Of course Hill presents himself as the answer to the town’s impending catastrophe.
Although the trouble Hill predicted never materialized in River City, trouble in a fallen world will. Despite its inevitability, trouble—no matter the size, shape or extent—can shake the strongest heart. Many believers feel the culture is crumbling. They see the world as Isaiah described: “Justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter” (Isaiah 59:14). Trouble indeed.
So trouble poses as nothing new. Especially for Christians. Paul warned the Thessalonians about his approaching trials (1 Thes 3:3-4). James told the church trouble was not only unavoidable but necessary for spiritual growth (James 1:2-4). Peter sought to comfort believers by helping them see their faith would be proved genuine through the fire of suffering (1 Peter 1:6-7).
Christians can’t expect a pass when it comes to trouble. What we can and should expect, however, is to find a God who promises to be “our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). A God who will not only walk with us through the struggle, but will use the pain to make us better, purer, stronger.
Let’s not be “unsettled” by the trials we or fellow believers face. Let’s be like those who have gone before us and remain firm in our faith and love (1 Thes 3:6). It won’t be easy. In order to counter the kind of Trouble that starts with a capital “T”… we need Courage. It starts with “C” and that rhymes with “T”… folks, we need Courage.