The Big End of Trouble
Charles Naylor, 1920
I once saw the following in a paper:
"Trouble has a way of coming
Big end first;
And when seen at its appearing,
Looks its very worst."
Many people are always seeing trouble. They are "troubled on every side." Whenever they talk — it is generally to tell of their trouble. There are others who, though they have troubles, seem able to put them in the background, and say but little about them. They talk of victory, of the Lord's help, and of the joys of salvation. We all have our troubles — for man is "of few days, and full of trouble!" But the greatest troubles any of us have, are the ones that never come! How truly the poet has spoken in the above-quoted lines! It is just as he says, trouble comes big end first and fills us with forebodings.
How easy it is to worry over the troubles that loom up in the future. "Oh, how shall I meet them!" we exclaim. "Oh, I do not see what I shall do!" and we fear and tremble before them. Nearly all the joy is excluded from some people's lives, by the shadow of coming troubles. But when those troubles come upon us, we someway, somehow, pass through them. Many of them, and sometimes very threatening ones, disappear entirely before we reach them! And the others, when they do come, are usually not nearly so bad as we had thought they were going to be. We always find a way through them. Many times we are surprised at the ease with which we overcome them.
One brother who had been troubled all his life was finally enabled to see that the Lord always made a way through for him, and in speaking of it he said, "Things nearly always turn out better than I think they are going to!"
A young Christian and I once had an experience that well illustrates how trouble works. We were going to meeting one night. There was such a heavy fog, that we could see only a few feet ahead of us. Suddenly there loomed before us what appeared to be a great giant. He came striding toward us through the fog with legs twenty feet long and body towering up out of sight. It was an awe-inspiring spectacle and at first sight startled us. There it was, coming right toward us in a most threatening manner. If we had been frightened and had run away, we might have had a great story to tell; but we continued walking on toward it, when suddenly we came face to face with one of our neighbors. He was only an ordinary-sized man, and there was nothing terrible about him; but he was carrying a lantern, which swung partly behind him, and as he walked threw that gigantic shadow forward into the fog. The giant that we saw was not the real man; it was only his shadow.
That is just the way trouble comes. The thing we see is not really the approaching trouble in its true size and shape; it is only the shadow of it that we see. Our imagination pictures it as something terrible, and we worry and live in its shadow for days and weeks, only to find at last that we have been scared by a shadow, and that the real trouble is only a fraction of what we supposed it would be.
When Alexander the Great was a youth, his father had a war-horse that no one could ride. The youthful prince made up his mind to conquer the animal. When he tried it, he discovered that the horse was afraid of its shadow; so he turned its head toward the sun and soon had it conquered. Let us learn a lesson from this, and when we become afraid of the shadows of trouble, let us turn our faces toward the Sun of Righteousness, thus leaving the shadows behind us. The Scripture says, "The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name will put their trust in you — for you, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you" (Psalm 9:9, 10).
David said, "Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the LORD with music." (Psalm 27:3, 5, 6).
O troubled soul, instead of looking at your troubles — look to Jesus! The more you look at your troubles, the worse they will appear, the more you will be troubled — and the less you will see of God and his help. Do you not know that God loves you? Do you not know that he sees the trouble? Do you not know that he knows the best way to meet it, and just exactly how much grace you will need? Instead of worrying — try trusting; you will find it works much better. Cultivate the habit of casting your care upon Jesus. Face your troubles boldly. Assert in your soul, "The Lord will make a way. The Lord will help me through!" Continue repeating it until it becomes real to you — and you will be surprised how simple trust will take you through to victory.