Ed, my old neighbour in Saskatchewan, believes a lousy day is unavoidable once in a while, but he feels some folks have months and years of bad days. My old neighbour feels going to church is a bad day for himself. He considers churches the location of funerals. They are events that are as bad as it gets for the dead and the living. Ed also believes churches are the source of trouble because people get married at churches, and once the wedding is over the problems starts.
Trouble and bad days go together. Trouble usually comes in bunches that seem beyond our control. There is a delightful children’s book by Judith Viorst called Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. In the book, Alexander, a seven or eight-year-old boy, had a day when everything went wrong. His day started when he woke up with gum in his hair that had been in his mouth when he went to bed. At school, at the dentist, at the shoe store, at dinner, in his bath and in bed, trouble found Alexander. He was sure if he could run away to Australia his Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day would not happen there.
The Bible confirms that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. We may need to hear that often because when problems and difficulties dog us, God may not be part of our solution. We tend to think that troubles are ours to solve and that we need to blame our problems on forces beyond our control. Ultimately, it is not who caused us trouble but how will we get out of our trouble. Are there some problems that we cannot fix?
Trouble in the Bible means pressed in or in a tight spot. Who likes to be stuck, unable to move freely or walk or run away? We say things like being under a burden of debt, between a rock and a hard place. Sometimes there is no escape, a hospital bed and tubes and machines holding you there. There are the times when loved ones die, and you cannot change death or replace their love and support. No one is without trouble for this earth is not heaven where tears and problems are forever gone.
When Jesus was arrested and taken to the house of the high priest, his troubles began to multiply. While they waited for daybreak and daylight for a legal trial to be conducted, those holding Jesus mocked him and beat him. In the gospel of Matthew, the high priest said to Jesus: “Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. He had spoken blasphemy (Saying that he was the son of God) and was declared to be worthy of death. Pilate and Herod refused to help Jesus and allowed Jesus to be confined to death on the cross, burdened by the sins of the world. Jesus accepted all his trouble quiet as a lamb led to slaughter. It was God his Father’s will for the reconciliation of sinners to Himself. Jesus endured his trouble without trying to deny who he was or what he needed to suffer.