Isn’t it interesting how troubles always seem to come in bunches? It isn’t a “mountain” of trouble, it’s a “mountain range”!
As I come off a current “mountain range” of problems, I have to wonder: Wouldn’t each of these trials have been easier to take one at a time? Take my dog being sick, for example, and me having to clean up multiple spots from the carpet. Wouldn’t that have been easier to deal with if I had arrived home from work on time? And the cleaning up would certainly not have been so painful if I hadn’t just sprained my wrist. And wouldn’t the wrist sprain have been easier if it weren’t for the fact that we were on “high alert” to drop everything and fly to Europe? If it weren’t for the fact that my mother-in-law didn’t not have much longer to live? And wouldn’t that have been easier to work through if we hadn’t had sick staff at work, making the work load of the rest of us double and requiring that we all work several hours of overtime? And wouldn’t the extra time at work have been easier to manage if I hadn’t also been sick with the same bug? And since all the above took away my time to do things at home in the evenings, wouldn’t it have all been easier if I hadn’t had to deal with another family emergency on the weekend, thus taking away any “catch-up” time I had?
Back in 2012, when I was going through some serious health concerns, I remember asking God why it all had to come in bunches. I mean, wouldn’t the torn rotator cuff have been so much easier to deal with if it hadn’t been for the accompanying frozen shoulder? And wouldn’t the shoulder issues have seemed less daunting if I hadn’t just broken two ribs and injured my calf in two separate accidents? And God, wouldn’t it all have been easier to manage if it hadn’t been for that cancer diagnosis?
I could give many more examples, but I think you get the picture. In fact, you could insert into this devotional multiple examples of your own “mountain range” of problems. For whatever reason, it never seems to be the case that we deal with just one problem at a time. In fact, I would say that 10 seems to be the norm!
So how should we react?
The prophet Micah gives us some clues. Micah prophesied at a time when the Babylonian captivity of Judah was an imminent reality. Troubles were piling up for the people of Jerusalem and Judah, and the worst was yet to come: “Why do you now cry aloud–have you no king? Has your ruler perished, that pain seizes you like that of a woman in labor?” (Micah 4:9 NIV)
Any woman who has ever given birth knows exactly what pain the prophet is speaking of here. In fact, Micah, being a man, probably had less idea than we women do. Yes, the pains of labour are an excellent description of how this mountain range of problems feels at the moment!
What does Micah tell us to do?
“Writhe in agony, Daughter Zion, like a woman in labor…” (Micah 4:10a NIV)
Excellent advice, Micah. You obviously have never been there. Labor is said to be the worst pain known to mankind…
But Micah is heartless: “…for now you must leave the city to camp in the open field. You will go to Babylon…” (Micah 4:10b NIV)
In other words, we need to face that labor pain, because we WILL go through illness. Our troubles WILL pile up against us. The loss of our loved one WILL be coupled with sprained wrists, sick dogs, illness and other family problems. That cancer diagnosis WILL come at a time when troubles are already abounding. We WILL lose that house in the middle of winter. That relationship WILL fall apart in the face of all those financial concerns: “…for now you MUST leave the city to camp in the open field. You will go to Babylon…”
Some comfort, Micah!
So where is the advice I promised?
It was there in the opening line of vs. 10. Did you catch it?
“Writhe in agony, Daughter Zion, like a woman in labor…”
Let’s not forget that labor pain does not last forever. It can sometimes last hours, even days, but in the end, all the pain results in the birth of a beautiful baby. This is the advice that Micah gives us when we are going through that mountain range of trouble: Face them like you would face labor pains. Charge in courageously, ever knowing that it will be temporary; and once on the other side, it will be worth it.
Not convinced? I’m not sure Judah would have been, either, except for the last line of vs. 10: “…there you will be rescued. There the Lord will redeem you out of the hand of your enemies.” (Micah 4:10c NIV)
Whatever mountain range of problems assaults you today, face it like you would labor, ever knowing that God will get you through, and in the end, rescue and redemption!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.