2 Corinthians 4:8
“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;”
Many times I have been out soul winning when I came upon a house where a dog is chained. The dog sounds vicious and looks mean as it barks and snarls at me, and then it jumps at me seemingly to attack me, but its chain keeps it from getting to me. You see, though the danger of the dog is there, it cannot touch me because the chain keeps it from getting to me.
This is what God is saying about troubles in your life. You will notice that the verse above says, “We are troubled on every side…” God did not say that we are troubled within, but we are troubled without. God is saying that you may be surrounded with trouble, but the troubles have not touched you; therefore, you are “not distressed.” The comfort that God gives in this statement is that He puts the troubles on a chain that keeps them from hurting you.
This statement reminds me of Isaiah 43:2 which says, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Again, the troubled waters may rise, but God will keep you from drowning. The fires may burn, but God will keep the flame from touching you. In other words, you may be surrounded by the fire, but God puts a chain on the fire to keep it from touching you.
This is exactly what God did for Job. God asked Satan if he had considered His servant Job. Satan’s response is found in Job 1:10 where he says, “Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?…” Do you see what I see? Again, God’s character is that He allows troubles to surround you, and the troubles may seem overwhelming, but the troubles cannot get to you without God’s permission. However, you have God’s promise that the troubles will not overflow or burn you.
I think of the thick darkness that God sent upon Egypt in the plagues. The darkness was so thick that the Egyptians couldn’t see each other for three days. Yet, God protected His children and didn’t let the darkness touch them. Exodus 10:23 says about this darkness, “…but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” Here it is again; darkness surrounded God’s people, but it didn’t touch them. They could see the darkness, but they were still in the light.
My friend, God’s character is that He always protects His children. You may see the darkness of troubles all about you, but you must focus on the light that God has given you so that the darkness doesn’t cause you to be in despair. The only reason your troubles are causing you to be distressed is because you are looking at them instead of looking at the God who is keeping them from coming upon you.
What is it that you are facing today? What are the troubles that seem to burden your heart? You can let these troubles distress you and cause you to become overwhelmed, or you can look at God’s protection and realize that God will never allow anything about you to overwhelm you. Whatever you are facing today, you can make it through it. God’s character will not change with your problems; therefore, you can be surrounded by troubles, but realize you are still on the winning side.