Hello, Trouble. We were expecting you. Come right in and make yourself at home. Will you be staying awhile? We thought so.
We’ve heard a lot about you. We’ve seen you visit our friends’ homes. To be honest, we’ve been dreading your arrival for a while now. But we know your stay will be good for us. We’ve watched what happens over the course of time, when you come to visit. We’ve seen the results. We’ve watched our friends become stronger, more Christ-focused, wiser, and more compassionate after you’ve spent some time in their homes.
That is, some of them have.
You’ve had the opposite effect on a few of our friends. They’ve become angry, resentful, and have leaped headlong into sinful reactions and self-destructive habits. Oh, how we want to avoid those mistakes now that you’re here at our doorstep.
Sent by the Master
We know that you take your orders from our Master. We know that He sent you. We also know why He sent you. It’s because He loves us and wants to reorganize our lives so they resemble the life of His Son. Though it’s hard to say this, Trouble, we want you to stay as long as the Master tells you to.
We trust the Master completely, but—keeping it real, here—seeing you move in is still hard. We don’t know how long you’ll be staying. We don’t know what you’ll change or how daily life will be affected. It looks like you’ve got a lot of baggage there. By the time everything is unpacked, we wonder what else will have to go to make room for all of that. We’re hoping the things you brought won’t be dreadfully painful! However, we know you didn’t pack the bags. You only carried in what the Master handpicked for you to bring.
Again, we do trust the Master. He told us that you’d be coming, and we’ve been preparing for your visit for as long as I can remember. Sometimes to get ready for you, we have recited the Master’s words, reminding ourselves of His love and His commitment to us. We know that He is for us, not against us.
We Plan to Cooperate
So here’s our pledge to you, Trouble. As long as you’re in our home, we will not ignore you or pretend you aren’t here. We won’t treat you with resentment, either. We won’t sneer at you in the hall or grumble because you’ve made life so hard. All of us will need to adjust and make room for you in our lives. But we promise to be hospitable, gracious hosts. We’ll accept you for what you are—a temporary guest in our home.
I guess what I’m saying is that we’ll cooperate. We know we can’t show you out. And we don’t want to stomp off in anger or abandon our post like cowardly runaways. We see being your host as the equivalent of being faithful. We want to be faithful and prove our loyalty to the Master. We want to be faithful to Him the way He has been faithful to us.
Pretty soon—either before you leave, or just after—we’ll be moving out. Our Master is preparing a new place for us to live. Our new dwelling will be off limits to you, Trouble. The Master won’t allow you to enter that home. Only this one. Only now. Only temporarily. And only for our good—to get us ready for moving day.
So come right in. Make yourself at home. Like I said, we’ve been expecting you.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. . . . Let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator while doing good (1 Peter 4:12, 19).
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 5:10-11).
I wrote this post four years ago (thanks, Revive Our Hearts for publishing it), but it seems particularly apropos right now. People world wide are sick and dying. Our economy is at a standstill. Like many other Americans, my husband has been furloughed. The whole world is holding its breath, waiting to see where this coronavirus will take us and what will happen next.
He trouble arrived on our doorsteps? Yes, I dare say it has for all of us. It has moved in and completely rearranged our lives. And how are we reacting? With resentment or denial? Have you stomped off or run away? (I did both of those today).
Friend, let’s find ways to settle in and make Trouble our guest, entrusting ourselves to our Master. Remember, in just a little while we’ll be moving out. Jesus is preparing a trouble-free home for us! For now, let’s entrust ourselves to the refining process, and keep our eyes on Him.