Do not waste your troubles!

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

It’s obvious to anyone who fogs a mirror that trouble is an unavoidable part of life.  As conscientious as we are at trying to live a trouble-free life, Murphy’s Law sometimes does catch up with us and bad news does knock at our door.  And all of us know that it is what we do with trouble when it comes our way that makes us victors or victims, champs or chumps.

Recent troubles in my life have convinced me more than ever that troubles are not to be wasted.  I want to take Jesus’ advice, and be encouraged to make the most of this opportunity to be an overcomer in Him. 

Many of you know that over the past two months a lump on my neck dragged me into a troubling journey to discover its cause.  The ultimate wake-up call with Dr. Death or Dr. Hope, launched me into a process of two biopsies and a CT scan and meeting with two other doctors that finally came back with the verdict that the lump was a benign cyst.  I wrote an earlier blog on lessons learned through this process entitled “If life is short, how should I live?

When I had the cyst removed two weeks ago in a very successful surgery I breathed a sigh of relief that my time of trouble was finally over.  But then last week in a follow-up visit to the doctor, I discovered to my dismay, that further testing on the lump indicated it was not benign after all, but rather thyroid cancer.  That of course threw me for a loop.  Although thyroid cancer is the most curable of all cancers, it has forced me to face the troubling prospect of more surgery and all the necessary follow-up treatment. 

Since the advent of that news I can honestly say God has worked some miraculous things in my heart.  First, He has graciously given me a deep abiding peace coupled with a faith to believe for total healing and eradication of all cancer from my body.  I think just as importantly, He has given me a determination not to waste this troubling circumstance in my life.  More than ever I want to gain the maximum benefit from it.

Here are the top four benefits I am seeking to maximize in my troubles.  I believe these are universal truths that can help all of us whenever trouble comes our way.  So, don’t waste your troubles!

  1. Turn to God as you never have before. 
  2. Re-prioritize your life with Christ at the center.
  3. Become more Christ-like in your relationship with others.
  4. Commit to an end-game strategy that glorifies God no matter what happens.

More tomorrow.  What have your troubles taught you?

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11 Responses to “Do not waste your troubles!”

  1. I have learned “not to worry about tomorrow”; God says “fear not” a lot; and He wants us to talk to Him, A LOT. MY main goal is to have a closer relationship with Him, and be able to hear Him better.
    I was so sorry to hear the news!! This a club that no one wants to be a part of. God will defintely use those items on your list to teach you whatever it is He wants you to learn. (don’t expect anything…just follow His lead). Sometimes I am actually excited to go through this, just because I AM closer to God now, and that makes it all worth it. I’ve really had to take a good look at myself too, which isn’t always easy. But I want to be honest, so everytime I am upset about something (like the mastectomy), I question why? and God helps me work through it.
    Expect miracles!! We are all here for you!! Keep us posted!
    Love in Christ
    Tina

  2. Tina – Thank you for sharing your wisdom from the trenches. I love how you expressed your desire to be closer to Him and hear Him better. That should be the driving motivation for all of us all the time. Difficult times certainly have a way of doing just that for which we can indeed be thankful. And as you say – it also causes us to want to walk in the light the things that cloud our relationship with Him. You are one of my heroes and your faith is a huge inspiration to me and so many others. Proud to be standing together with you!!! Tom

  3. Sorry I’ve been a few days slow getting over here to your blog (just know I’m still following you). My prayers still go with you as you proceed along this path I believe God has you on. Very thought provoking words “don’t waste your troubles”.

  4. Whoa!!! We’ll definitely be praying for healing, Tom. Your attitude is amazing!!!

  5. It is at those times in my life when I have truly learned to have less of me and more of Him in every aspect. Be less of me, see less of me, have less of me and be more like Him, see more of Him and have more of Him. It really has taken the “me” out of the way. Those times teach me to truly cast my cares upon Him, my fears, my thoughts, my everything. So many times in life we like to think we have all the answers and kind of have Him and His plan for our life “somewhat” figured out and then He brings things in our life to remind us that it is Him and ALL HIM and in Him alone is where our trust should be. Our prayers are with you Pastor Tom…. you are such an inspiration to us and I love your blog….I am learning so much through your teachings. Keep pushing on in our dear Lord. He has awesome plans in your life. He continues to use you to change lives. You probably don’t even realize the magnitude of those you reach. God’s blessings.

  6. Diane – thank you for sharing your insights and yeilded heart to the Lord’s work in your life. May you continue to grow strong in your faith giving glory to God!! I appreciate your personal encouragement to me as well!!!

  7. Hey thank you Dave! Your prayers and friendship are much appreciated!

  8. Thank you my friend! Always good to hear from you. Keep those blog posts coming on No Busy Signal. I love your insights!

  9. Troubles, I’ve had a few ( I think that is a line from a old song). I’ve learned the most through trials and tribulation. I wouldn’t trade the troubles to go away for all that God has given me. Daily renewed faith. Hope. Trust. Forgiveness. Knowing that He is always there, with His eye on me, my family, friends and enemies. I have learned to wait on Him. I have even leaped where angels fear to tread. I have also learned to stand and be still. I have learned there is nothing in my life that hasn’t come from His hand. God is.
    You are in my prayers

  10. Thank you Tom for sharing your personal story and the link to what people regret when nearing the end of their life. I worked in Hospice for many years, may all learn from the wisdom of lessons learned and commit to living a life of balance. Honor your circle, spiritual, physical, emotional and psycholigical. Blessings to you.

  11. I agree with your attitude of life. I am a byproduct of troubles.There has to be a rebuke, since we are His children. ( A person only posing as a child, will not suffer rebuke from Him.) I find trouble is the next step on the ladder of growing in His image, if not wasted. When God is working on us, it seems a little hard to grasp the idea of getting through the trouble. There will be no trouble when we are made ready to sit with Him. So its a course we go through to reach the goal. I was witnessing commonwealth games. What an effort every person had to make it to get Gold medal. Those who shirked the toughness course, had to stay away from the Games. I was thinking of the Golden crown promised to us, when we complete our Track or finish the Bout. Paul’s words were sounding in my ears when I was there. I am inspired to seek more, when I read your messages.

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