trouble will not last

I was diagnosed with severe carpal tunnel syndrome in both of my hands. I have undergone surgery on my right hand, and, thanks to God, it is healing quite well. My condition has been painful and sometimes frustrating. But it has also been a reminder of God’s faithfulness to keep His promises. God is not faithful because we are faithful; God is faithful because He is faithful. Like many of you, I have suffered financial crises and setbacks from COVID-19. But God promised that trouble would not last forever. Joy will come. God gives us beauty for ashes. The joy of the Lord is our strength. Friends, if you trust God, your situation will change for the better.

COVID-19

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

2 Corinthians 4:17

We must not misunderstand this principle by thinking that a Christian can live any way he or she pleases and expect everything to turn into glory in the end. God can and does turn suffering into glory. However, He cannot turn sin into glory. Sin must be judged because there is no glory in sin. Jesus has judged our sin, and our heavenly Father has declared us righteous in Him.

For He [God] made Him [Christ] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:21

God Uses Pain and Affliction to Build Strength and Character

In May of 2004, I lost one of my sons to gun violence. In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina inundated my home city of New Orleans. My wife and I survived five days on the roof of an elementary school in Uptown, New Orleans. We lost all of our possessions to the storm, so we relocated to Fort Worth, Texas.

One Sunday morning in 2007, I was awakened by a horrible pain in my chest. There are lots of tornadoes in Texas so my first thought was that a tornado touched down and the house had collapsed on me. Instinctively, I pushed up to free myself, but there was nothing there. When I opened my eyes, I knew then that something was wrong. My wife called my son, who lived close by in Arlington, Texas. He rushed me to Arlington Memorial Hospital. I had experienced a massive heart attack.

When God said, “Trouble will not last,” I believed Him. However, while I endured these things, I felt hopeless, as though the world was ending. I thought to myself, “Where is the joy of the Lord that God promised me?” But even in my despair, I made the conscious decision to believe God, rather than believe my circumstances.

Today, I have a different outlook on life. I have learned to “count it all joy when I fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of my faith produces patience” (James 1:2-3). God does not afflict us with pain, nor does He afflict us with sickness like COVID-19. The devil does that. But what the devil means for evil, God turns around for good. Friends, I want you to know trouble won’t last always. In the morning, look for joy with anticipation, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Beauty for Ashes

I am sure you have seen your share of bad days. You may even be having a bad day right now. But you cannot give up on life, and whatever you do, do not give up on God because you are having a bad day. Bad days come and go. Rest assured that trouble will not last, so look for joy in the morning. In your darkest hour, you can experience God’s love.

COVID-19 has been a troublesome inconvenience for everyone. It has hindered our plans, church worship services, family celebrations, and our social life. The virus has also left a trail of grief and death in its shadow. To date, the COVID-19 virus has claimed the lives of more than 330 thousand Americans, leaving many families to grieve and mourn for their loved ones.

God promised to give you beauty for your ashes, joy for your mourning, praise for your heavy heart. But it is an exchange. The problem is we want to hold on to our ashes while we mourn. Because we were offended, we want to keep our heavy hearts. Why is this? It gives the natural part of us a reason to have pity parties and seek revenge on the person or persons who hurt us. Don’t let trouble doom you to an existence of misery. If someone offends you, don’t seek revenge. Give the hurt to God instead.

Let Go of Your Stress

The COVID-19 pandemic has added stress to our lives. This stress is the ashes that burden us down. Let go of the ashes and receive the beauty that God has promised you. Then exchange your mourning for the oil of joy. Lastly, begin to praise God when your heart is heavy with grief. When you do these things, God is glorified and you are justified.

To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

Isaiah 61:3

Weeping May Last for a Night but Joy Comes in the Morning

the joy of the Lord comes in the morning

Racism, hatred, violence, and division are seeds that the enemy has sown in our hearts. But Psalm 126:5 says, “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Friends, your tears are precious to God. You might be sowing tears of sorrow and sadness today, but when you put your trust in God, He will give you a harvest of joy. The joy of the Lord is our strength. Weeping May Last for a Night, but Joy Comes in the Morning.

By Eric Dunbar

Once addicted to crack cocaine, my story is not unique but inspiring. I have been a professor of faith for most of my life. Before you inquire about my credentials, let me explain. I don’t mean professor as in “teacher” but professor as in “squatter.” For most of my life, I have been trying to occupy what I had never fully possessed, namely, faith. You see, my trust was in God long before I used drugs. To this day, I cannot tell you what happened to cause me to be addicted; it just happened. After a lifetime of serving God, somehow, I became a crack cocaine addict. I grew up in the church. I was born with talent. I started playing the organ for local churches at the age of eight years. I cultivated strong confidence in God early in life. From the time I was five until I was eighteen years old, I can’t remember ever missing a church service. I started playing keyboards in a popular R&B band at the age of nineteen years old. Midlife When you’re young, life is all about having fun, and I was indeed having a lot of fun. Playing in an R&B band exposed me to the rigors of nightlife, leading me to deviate from the church. I started experimenting with all kinds of drugs. At first, it was marijuana, then pills, and soon, I was using cocaine. All the while, I still attended church, although not as often. When I was married, my infrequent music revenue was inadequate to raise a family. So I left the band and found a job. I have always had confidence in God, but I didn’t know how to implement my faith. When my first child was born, I renewed my faith and got heavily involved in the church. A few years later, my pastor inspired me to begin a cell ministry in my home, where I faithfully worshipped God and held Bible studies every Tuesday. About seven years into my marriage, I slipped back into drug use. This time cocaine was my choice drug. Soon after, I learned to cook cocaine, converting it into a rocky substance called crack. That was the beginning of a life of trouble. I had become a slave to the drug; crack cocaine was now my master. Confident Expectation My wife threatened to leave if I didn’t control my addiction. Nevertheless, I remained confident that God would deliver me. But my wife insisted that I seek help. I wanted to save my marriage, so I enrolled in the Narcotics Anonymous Twelve Step Program. I completed the required thirty-day classes, and I went home drug-free. Fifteen days later, I was once again smoking crack. My crack smoking eventually led to my wife divorcing me. I lost my family, possessions, and everything dear to me. Life had become challenging, and I was near depression. My parents taught me that faith believes, so I understood the principle of faith. I had faith that God would liberate me, so I continued to pray that God would soon rescue me from this evil that had come upon me. One day I opened my Bible, and my eyes fell on this scripture: “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). “I don’t go to church anymore,” I said to myself, so how can I hear the word of God? Then I thought to read the word aloud to myself. The Bible was now my best friend. I read the word to myself. The word of God came out of my mouth and went back into my ears. Alas, I was hearing the word of God. I still craved crack cocaine and got high whenever the opportunity presented itself. But for the next two years, I mostly stayed to myself, reading the Bible aloud, quoting scriptures, and praying. Believing Faith Speaks After two years of practically being alone with God, my craving for crack cocaine was gone. My confidence in God rewarded me with freedom. I learned that believing faith speaks. No longer did I profess faith, but I now possessed it. Faith is having confidence in the things we hope for. Although they are not visible to our physical eyes, we believe that God is working our hope into physical existence. It is the bridge linking us to the spiritual realm and makes God a touchable reality. When we trust God, it guarantees that God’s promises and Biblical revelations are true. We cannot detect these revelations and promises of the word of God with our physical senses. However, by trusting God, we have the confidence that our expectation will come to pass. Faith is the quintessence that the things we hope for become so concrete that even belief itself becomes a definitive reality of those things that are not yet visible. Your faith becomes so tangible that you believe you possess those things in the spiritual realm.

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