“Uh, oh! Here comes trouble!”
Have you ever had anyone say that about you as you were approaching? I have, and possibly more have thought it! A number of times I heard it humorously from my Grandpa or from one of his old-timer friends when I came to visit him at his assisted living apartment and, then, later when visiting him at the nursing home. “Uh, oh! Here comes trouble!” Grandpa and his buddies would say it to see if they could get a bit of a rise out of me. Or they would say it to tease me about how fast I might have driven during the two-hour trip (which often became significantly less) from my home to Grandpa’s place. They always meant it to be funny and engaging.
However, there have been a number of occasions for me, and probably for many of you, when, because of our faith in the Almighty God, we have been called to disturb the peace – to be a troubler – for the sake of God’s love, grace and truth to be known to the people around us.
This was true for the prophet Elijah. King Ahab of Israel had tried to hunt down Elijah for some time, without any success. Elijah had courageously spoken out against the wrongs committed by the people of Israel and their leaders, all who were supposed to be the people of God. So, King Ahab wasn’t exactly a big fan of Elijah. Ahab wanted to put a stop to all the trouble that Elijah was causing. Then one day, according to God’s perfect timing and perfect plan, the Lord directed Elijah to go and present himself to his adversary King Ahab. (Yes! God can ask some pretty outrageous things of His followers!) The meeting and greeting between Ahab and Elijah went like this:
When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”
“I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied.
“But you and your father’s family have.
You have abandoned the LORD‘s commands
and have followed the Baals [false gods and idols].”
1 Kings 18:17-18
God wants us to be His people. To be His light in this dark and broken world. And sometimes, God needs to send a troubler to shake us up. To wake us up spiritually so that we will follow our God, keep His commands, and reflect God’s love, grace and truth to others. Our Lord does all this troubling in our lives out of His incomprehensible love for us. Out of His deep desire to be in an intimate and continually growing relationship with each one of us.
And sometimes, you or I may be the one called by God to approach others as the Lord’s troubler – aka ambassador of Christ! Out of compassion for others and so that they would know the true love, salvation, hope, healing, peace, freedom and transformation that come from obeying the commands of our Almighty God, would we be willing to trust God enough to disturb the peace – to become a troubler – for the Lord? Even if it’s uncomfortable? Even if the timing is not our timing? Even if we’re likely to be ignored or misjudged by, at least, some of those with whom we are called to share God’s words and ways?
So be it! Here Comes Trouble! When being a troubler comes from the Lord’s call on our lives as His ambassadors of reconciliation, we can be sure it is a good, right and loving thing!