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Thoughts for Times of Trouble


Dear Friend,

I hope this letter finds you in good heart as spring arrives, bringing with it fresh evidence of God’s promise in Genesis 8:22. (Look it up.) For many of us, it is a long-anticipated day when the clocks change and we “spring forward.” We then discover that during the dark days of winter, a great deal has been happening unseen, laying the groundwork for the appearance of crocuses, green leaves, and the colors of the season.

We might similarly recognize seasons of the soul. We may have come through a period of spiritual winter, during which time we see little evidence of activity, only to discover that our heavenly Father has been at work during the dark days, preparing us for fresh signs of renewed spiritual life. We learn to look back with gratitude and forward with expectation. 

One of the events we keenly anticipate this month is welcoming forty pastors here at Truth For Life for a one-day conference to mutually encourage one another in the Gospel. It will be a time to learn from each other, and also from those who have gone before us. 

I’m reminded of preacher and writer Andrew Murray, who was greatly used by God in South Africa in the 1800s. His effectiveness was often hampered by setbacks. In 1895, he was suffering from back pain, the result of an injury he had incurred years before. One morning, as he was eating breakfast in his room, he received word that a woman downstairs was in much trouble and wanted to know if he had any advice. Murray had been writing on a piece of paper, which he then gave to his assistant and said, “Just give her this, that I have been writing down for myself; it may be that she will find it helpful.” 

This is what was written: 

In time of trouble say:

First: He brought me here; it is by His will I am in this strait place: in that I will rest.

Next: He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.

Then: He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.

Last: In His good time He can bring me out again—how and when He knows.

Say: I am here

  1. By God’s appointment.

  2. In His keeping.

  3. Under His training.

  4. For His time.

Such a perspective does not alleviate our circumstances but enables us to keep an even keel and not lose heart.  

Please remember our small-group pastor gathering in early April in your prayers, and know that as shepherds of God’s flock, we, too, commend you to God’s care. 

With my warmest Christian greetings, 


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Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.
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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.