Have you noticed that no matter how good you’re doing, trouble always seems to come? Trouble is not an “if” in life. It’s a “when.”
Trouble may come in finances, a diagnosis, a family problem or even a season of hardship. But understand this: there is more than one way to deal with trouble.
Look at Nehemiah from the Bible. He was a slave when he heard that the walls of Jerusalem were crumbled in disrepair. Nehemiah was so distraught he could barely speak. But as he prayed, he got a vision for God’s kingdom that was bigger than his personal kingdom of being a slave.
Nehemiah rose up, set out a plan and asked the king he served for help. The king funded his plan! Then Nehemiah went to Jerusalem, where they didn’t know him, didn’t expect him and said to the people, “Let’s start rebuilding.”
When those words were uttered, the Bible says the people’s hands were strengthened to do the work. “Let’s start rebuilding” is the best thing you can say when you’ve been beaten up and battered. When you say it, God will strengthen you to do it.
Then there’s Rahab, the Jericho prostitute. She didn’t know anything about God’s kingdom. But when two men showed up and asked her to hide them, she saw an opportunity. The men were spies sent by Joshua. It looked like trouble. But when trouble knocked, Rahab reached beyond her guilt, shame, bondage or oppression and caught a vision for her family.
Rahab hid the spies and in return, her whole family was spared when Jericho was defeated. In a moment of trouble, Rahab caught a generational vision. As a result, she aligned herself with God’s people and became the great, great, great, great, great grandmother of Jesus.
When you’re dealt a difficult hand, see it from a kingdom perspective and catch a generational vision. God can change everything, and your children and grandchildren will be better off because of your decision. Be a steppingstone for your family to go higher than you ever went, not a stumbling block that leaves them struggling.
My own story started with my mom getting pregnant with me when she was a high school freshman. She made a choice with great sacrifice to give me life. My dad could have run away, but instead, he got a job, got a place to live and became a father to me. They’ve been married for 48 years. When faced with difficulty, my parents caught a generational vision.
Even if your trouble is a marriage that is so bad, you’re not only living in separate rooms; you’re living in separate houses; if you’ll get a generational vision and partner with God, He will help you.
Some of what you choose today will not even be for you. You’re making an investment in God’s mercies that will show up for your children or grandchildren. Often what people think is luck or coincidence is really God’s blessing that was stored up by a previous generation. Often, we won’t eat the fruit we’ve sown, but future generations will.
My great-grandmother suffered a debilitating stroke when I was in elementary school. For two years, my grandmother went every day to her nursing home. During those years, I chose the path of becoming a preacher. But at my great-grandmother’s funeral, I had an unexpected moment.
Her former pastor told me my great-grandmother was a prayer warrior in his little country church. I never even knew she was a Christian because my grandmother wasn’t. I thought I became a preacher on my own, but my great-grandma had been praying for me.
My grandmother volunteered at a local thrift shop. Eventually a local church took it over. She continued to volunteer and eventually accepted an invitation to attend the church.
My great-grandma never saw her daughter in church and never heard me preach, but despite her stroke, she had a generational vision, and we reaped the harvest from her prayers.
You can do something today even in the face of adversity that somebody in generations to come will sow. You can face your troubles with an eye on God’s kingdom and walk through doors you never thought you’d walk through. Today is your day.
James Welch is the lead pastor of First Baptist Fort Lauderdale, a city-center church and multicultural movement comprised of over 70 different nationalities, bringing hope and equipping people to experience a Jesus First Life. Its services are translated live into four languages and broadcast online across the nation and around the world.