I was confronted by a verse of Scripture this morning that caused me to really stop and think. I like when the Bible does that. The Bible also has a way of forcing you to see things and areas in your life you need to work on. I don’t always like that.
“If you fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn’t much to you in the first place.” – Proverbs 24:10 MSG
Another version says, “If you are slack in the day of distress, Your strength is limited.” – Proverbs 24:10 NASB
What is the easiest thing to do in the day of adversity? To quit! Give up! Give in! Sit down and cry! What is the hardest thing? To keep moving, keep pushing, to “rejoice always,” and “give thanks in every situation.” Some people don’t even have to actually be in distress or adversity, just the possibility, or thought of it causes them to fall to pieces.
The New American Standard Bible has the best translation of this verse–”If you are slack in the day of distress….” In other verses the word we translate as “slack” is used more to signify laziness. To me, that means it is laziness to quit when things get tough. You know that tired, old, cliche–”When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” When the going gets tough, the tough don’t quit. The tough keep moving. The tough keep pushing. The tough keep driving. Tough people don’t stop just because it gets hard.
This is why the Bible also tells us to consider it joy when we face trials of many kinds. (James 1:2) “…Not only that, but we also glory in tribulations…” (Romans 5:3) Paul actually said that we “boast” in tribulation, he said that tribulation and trial is a cause for pride, tribulation is something to speak of with excessive pride. Tribulation is a word rarely used except when talking about “The End Times.” The word we translate tribulation originally meant something put under pressure, something pressed together.
If you want orange juice for breakfast you have options but all of them mean great distress for that poor orange. You have to cut it open first, then you have to squeeze it. The more juice you want, the harder you have to squeeze–the more pressure you have to use. Or, you can drop it in a juicer, and just think of what little orange is going through in there!
If there is any strength in you, you are going to have to be squeezed, or pressed, or dropped in a juicer. And many times we feel like that poor little orange being pulverized spinning around in a juicing machine. Think of all the oranges Jack LaLanne is responsible for crushing. The horror of it all!
If there is any strength in you it will be brought out by resistance and pressure. In the same way physical muscle is developed, inner fortitude and resolve is developed by lifting, pushing, or pulling weight. If you stop pushing once you met resistance you’ll stay a weak. You have to push through resistance to gain strength. You have to keep pushing through resistance for the strength that is in you to come out. “Fainting”, giving up, quitting in the day of distress leaves you in perpetual weakness. Fainting after a good workout is a different story!
Consider it joy when you face trials, boast when you feel like you are in the vice grips of life because “…Tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character hope.” (Romans 5:3-5) “…YOU KNOW that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing NOTHING.” (James 1:3-4)
Keep moving! Keep pushing! Keep driving!