The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. [Psalm 34:19 (NLT)]
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. [John 16:33 (NLT)]
Once upon a time, when an acorn fell on Chicken Licken’s head, he thought the sky was falling. In a panic, he ran across the barnyard to tell Henny Penny. After the alarmed twosome told Turkey Lurkey the frightening news, the three sped off to warn the rest of the barnyard. Shocked at the scary news, Ducky Lucky and Goosey Loosey joined them in their panic. When the five distraught birds encountered Foxy Loxy, the sly fellow invited them into the safety of his den. Sadly, that was the end of Chicken Licken and the rest of the barnyard birds—all because they didn’t understand that acorns falling from oak trees are an inevitable part of life.
As Christians, we are tempted to think that faith in Jesus will protect us from the slings, arrows, and acorns of this life. We envision easy sailing, level paths, on-time delivery, clear skies, benign lumps, seamless transitions, successful endeavors, perfect fits, spot-on directions, and happy endings. Jesus, however, told us to expect trials and sorrow. The norm of life in our fallen world is that businesses close, jobs are eliminated, families disagree, people disappoint, bodies fail, lines are long, cars break down, cancer spreads, loved ones die, progress grinds to a halt, mistakes happen, grief is unavoidable and, sooner or later, we will step in a least one pile of doggy do!
While I take comfort in the promise of God’s continual presence and peace, I’m not so happy about knowing that Jesus will neither spare nor shield me from troubles. Yet, for even the most righteous believer, a trouble-free life is a myth. Consider the pain and loss experienced by the blameless and upright Job, the persecution and martyrdom of the disciples, and the trials suffered by the Apostle Paul.
At the first sign of trouble, Chicken Licken and his pals panicked and decided the world was coming to an end. Unlike them, we must never let the harsh realities of this fallen world shake our faith. The good news is that we will never walk through our trials alone. God is at our side—encouraging, strengthening, comforting, and guiding us as we mature in our faith. Although it’s a given that we won’t have a trouble-free existence here on earth, we can be confident that we do have one waiting for us in eternity. Jesus has already delivered us from sin, evil, judgment and death. Until then, the next time the sky starts falling, consider it par for the course. Don’t panic or lose faith; make the best of it by putting on a hard hat and gathering acorns with a thankful heart. Be wary of easy solutions offered by the enemy and know that God will see you through your trials.