Trouble is like a pebble. Hold it too close to your eye and it fills the whole world and puts everything out of focus. Hold it at a proper distance and it can be examined and properly classified. Throw it at your feet and it can be seen in its true setting, just one more bump on the pathway to life (Celia Luce)

Jesus' dear friend, Lazarus, became sick. Martha and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus, notified Christ , but He didn't respond to their appeals immediately. Lazarus died. How disappointed they were. No one had a clue how the Lord would intervene into these circumstances, but Jesus knew exactly what he was going to do. He had a plan. What was true then is also true today. God's higher purpose often exceeds our need for immediate deliverance from adversity. We are sometimes forced, as were Martha and Mary, to live in the pain of a trial until God steps in with a miracle. Be careful and don't allow your spiritual focus to become obscured. God knows what is best for us. Often people want God to do their will for Him, instead of allowing God to do His will for them. In Psalms 149:4 it is written, "The Lord takes pleasure in His people and will beautiful the humble with salvation." Somewhere there is a positive in the middle of every negative circumstance one encounters. Someone has said, "If there is no pain there is no gain in life."

Often we respond to trouble by asking God to deliver from the predicament immediately. Many of us give very little regard for that which Christ seeks to do through the circumstances that occur in our lives. Paul diligently sought the Lord, seeking deliverance from a problem. The Lord spoke to Paul saying (2 Corinthians 12:9), "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." We would do well to remind ourselves of the words of Barsanuphius, "Whatever good is to be attained, struggle is necessary. Do not fear temptations, but rejoice in them, for they lead to achievement. God helps and protects us."

Jesus Christ raised Lazarus from the dead. Trust Jesus, even when things don't happen as you think they should, and refuse to give up. God always has a higher purpose He is willing to work in your life (Ephesians 3:20). When Jesus entered the ruler's house, he saw the flute players there. And he saw the noisy crowd. He said, "Go away. The girl is not dead. She is sleeping." But they laughed at him. After the crowd had been sent outside, Jesus went in. He took the girl by the hand, and she got up. (Matthew 9:23-24) Many times things crowding and bombarding against our mind and life need to be put out. We need to regain our clarity of focus "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Rom. 12:2)

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