The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
– Psalm 9:9-10
We humans like to rank things. As Jesus-following humans, we might want to rank church services, preachers, or Christian authors and bloggers. We rank our church services with numbers that represent those in attendance and how much they gave. We rank speakers and writers and entertainers. We rank sin based on how uncomfortable it makes us. We rank problems and peoples’ reactions to those problems based on an arbitrary scale of how much suffering is appropriate for a given problem.
Sometime close to you died? Okay, you should definitely take time to grieve that. But if your upset because your internet is being too slow to entertain you so you have to watch the actual TV or read a book or something, you should just buck up and quit whining. The thing is, there is no line, no limit, no definition of when a problem, or trouble, deserves time, sadness, or grieving.
But the Bible says the Lord is a stronghold in times of trouble. Not just huge trouble. Not just life-altering trouble. Not only the trouble that is comparable to the children starving in Africa. Just trouble. Our trouble. The Lord is a stronghold in times of our trouble.
Last night I heard a friend of mine share his testimony. He talked about his parents’ divorce and living with a stressed out father doing his best to raise three kids by himself. He talked about looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places. He talked about his mentor, whose testimony is rough. He talked about the first time he heard his mentor’s story. He talked about the first time he heard, “But Jesus changed all of it.” He talked about how he thought that if Jesus could change this guy’s story of abuse and stabbings and drugs and nights spent past out drunk, that Jesus could do anything.
He didn’t compare his story to anybody else’s. He didn’t hear this guy’s story and say, “Oh, I guess I don’t have any reason to complain. I don’t have it as bad as him, so I should just suck it up and stop letting my father’s anger affect me so much.” He said, “I need Jesus’ help to change, too! And now I know that if Jesus can clean up that mess, He can also clean up me.”
This friend went on to encourage the fifty teenagers listening to this story. He told them I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. He told them Jesus can clean up any mess. He told them Jesus is with us through every trial and trouble. Every trial and trouble, no matter how big or small.