WHAT TROUBLE TAUGHT ME!
by: Dr. Oscar T. Moses
Trouble is a master teacher! There are many lessons that trouble can teach you. Trouble can teach you what you can’t learn on campuses of academia such as Harvard or Yale. There are some things you learn from the school of hard knocks. This message is for the person who seems to be hit with trouble on every side. It’s for the sick person, the broke person or for the couple whose marriage is on the rocks. This message is for the person that tells the wrong people about their troubles. The message is tailored to teach that trouble is a teacher. David wrote this psalm based upon trouble in his life. His message to us is, be a good student of trouble because trouble is the kind of teacher that does not mind giving repeat lessons. This psalm is taken from a period in David’s life when he was knee deep in trouble. He was on the run from King Saul. His life was at stake. During the time David ran from Saul he spent a lot of time hiding out in caves. This psalm was written from David’s experience either in the cave of Adullam or the cave of En Gedi.
David found himself in a cave crying and complaining and telling God all about his trouble. David learned some valuable lessons during his times of trouble. The first lesson he learned was:
1. TROUBLE TAUGHT DAVID ABOUT GOD: David cried unto the Lord and complained about his trouble, he had reached the boiling point and was overwhelmed. Yet he realized that God knew about it. David said in verse 3 that his spirit was overwhelmed but the Lord knew his path. That may seem insignificant to some but when trouble comes your way the first somebody you should want to be informed is God. David said the Lord knew His path. Therefore, he trusted God to show him the way through His troubles. God knows where the traps are. God knows where the enemies are hiding. God will also navigate him through troubled waters. Trouble taught David that God knows the path you are traveling and if He knows the path, He will lead you through.
2. TROUBLE TAUGHT DAVID ABOUT HIS ENEMIES: David also said in verse 3 that his enemies privily laid a trap for him. The word that stands out is privily. The secret traps that enemies set can be vicious. The private conversations that enemies have to plot and plan one’s demise can be treacherous. Here lies the tension in the text. This was David’s path in life. He had to walk this way. He had to encounter enemies that would persistently attempt to trap him. Trouble taught David that life brings with it enemies that are strategically stationed by Satan to create trouble in your life.
3. TROUBLE TAUGHT DAVID ABOUT HIS FRIENDS: Trouble has a way of making friends disappear. Listen to David’s words in verse 5. I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. David’s friends denied him. King Saul was such a powerful tyrant that no one wanted to be associated with David. That’s people! Some are with you when you’re up and doing well but when you’re down and out they will not return your text, calls or emails. Trouble taught David that friends will let you down.
4. TROUBLE TAUGHT DAVID ABOUT HIMSELF: He’s crying in verse 1 and in verse 5 he is still crying. He is at a low point in his life and his enemies are picking up speed. David learned three things about himself:
Trouble taught David that he trusted God to make a way.
This is repeated behavior for David. This is not the first time he has been in trouble.
David trusted God when trouble surfaced.
Trouble taught David that he was not as strong as he thought he was.
He learned that some of his enemies were stronger than him. There are some battles that were not meant for you to fight. You must turn them over to the Lord.
Trouble taught David about premeditated praise.
David asked the Lord to bring him out of this prison of trouble so that he may praise His name. He had a made-up mind to praise God even though he was going through a difficult time. He literally says I want to praise you in public around the people of God. Therefore, he says the righteous shall compass around me and watch you bless me. Trouble taught David that trouble does not last always, and that praise should be intentional.
Perhaps you are experiencing a time of trouble in your life. As a matter of fact, you are in class with trouble now. This story of David is a reminder that trouble is a teacher and what troubles teach us depends on what trouble finds in us. When trouble comes your way there must be something within that propels you through the difficult times. I heard one adult say, It’s not the size of the dog in the fight. It’s the size of the fight in the dog. Lucie Campbell in a song said It’s something within.
What is that something within? Hope! Hope becomes the defiant resistance not to resign in your trouble and the divine inspiration to live another day. Hope says I know that troubles will not last always and that God will make a way somehow.
Dr. Oscar T. Moses