We all try to avoid trouble, but of course that is impossible. The Scriptures tell us “Man is born for trouble as sparks fly upwards” (Job 5:7). By God’s grace most of us do not face the troubles of life every day, but some do. Yet no matter how blessed your life may be, you will face times of trouble.
Perhaps we can categorize the troubles of life. Health, financial, relationship and spiritual (which is a relationship problem with God) seem to cover most of the troubles of life. Many times, when the troubles of life come, we panic. We must respond to this change in our life. But when we panic, we make bad decisions that make the troubles worse. This is where counseling can be especially useful. In times of trouble counseling can help us calm down, make wise decisions, and often shorten the length of our troubled time. Often just one or two counseling sessions helps bring things into perspective and set a path forward.
When troubles strike it often seems that God has forsaken us. We all know this is not true, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). But when troubles come, we panic, and our emotions speak lies that are hard to ignore. How we feel and what we believe often do not agree with each other. Counseling is particularly useful at such times. Talking about our feelings can be difficult, we are often confused about them ourselves. During our trouble, we need a safe place to be honest with ourselves and to become more self-aware. What are my emotional responses? What does my faith have to say to me about my trouble? How do I avoid being controlled by my emotional response, this trouble is overwhelming?
I have often talked with people who have mislabeled the emotions they are experiencing. The problem with this is if we mislabel an emotion, we will not respond to it correctly. Sometimes people will tell me they feel guilty. Yet, when I ask them what they have done that was wrong they do not have an answer for me. They were not feeling guilty, they were experiencing regret. They were sad about a trouble they or a loved one was experiencing. As we discussed this it became clear that having regret, feeling sad that a loved one must go through a trial is a good thing. It may not be a pleasant experience, but compassion is godly. Understanding this brings great relief. “My response is a godly response, not something I should be ashamed of or see as a weakness.”
When you or a loved one encounter one of the troubles of life, do not face it alone. Troubles often make us feel ashamed or embarrassed, yet troubles are common to all of us. “No temptation (or trial) has overtaken you, but such as is common to man… (I Cor. 10:13).
The Biblical Counseling Center is here to help people in their times of trouble. Thank you for your friendship and support. By God’s grace we are in our 39th year of ministry!