Pinecrest Bible Training Center

John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone.

Beginning in 2008 the vision and bible school that God so graciously gave Wade Taylor beginning in 1968 came to an abrupt end, falling into the ground and dying.-

We now wait for God to raise up and bring forth His seed of promise in another, that the vision fail not.

Summer 1984
Trouble a Servant
John Wright Follette

Among many people there is an idea or notion that the life of the Christian should be a sort of charmed life, void of trouble, testing and tribulation or suffering. Such people have shaped for themselves an impossible or unscriptural conception as an objective.

Where in the world such people, so bewitched, have been living all these years, or what books of history they have read, is quite beyond me! Surely they do not know history, Christian experience, or the Bible. For all these keep ever before us the truth that, “man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all” (Psa. 34:19). “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (II Cor. 4:17). “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience” (Rom. 5:3).

Surely on the basis of all these scriptures, we as Christians know better than to pray for exemption from trouble, and since we know that in God’s plan it is a part of our inheritance, let us not avoid its peculiar ministry.

History is replete with examples of lives wrecked because of the ungrateful reaction to trouble. In spite of the accumulated experiences of the ages and the wisdom and philosophy of the seers, many still fail to recognize that behind her mask, trouble is a servant to assist us. Any other view is due to lack of vision and perspective in that range. Too many see the immediate, the local, and interpret life and relative questions from a circumscribed point. The scriptures say, “While we look not on the things seen . .” as Christians, after we are convinced in our heart, that trouble is not designed to defeat us, is not a mere nuisance or cruelty, but is one of the corrective elements in great living, we must needs learn how to use it. How many problems would be solved and shipwrecks of faith be avoided, could we take a positive, constructive attitude and see that trouble is one of the agents and mighty instruments placed in our hands for the shaping of character and the releasing of potential power for correct and glorious building.

How do you use trouble? Naturally, we shun pain, discomfort or trouble. But that is because we merely relate them to their effect upon the physical situation or present mood. So many hours are spent praying that trouble, the great servant, will be removed from our lives. At times we take long, circuitous journeys to avoid meeting with her. Finally, when we are compelled to meet her, we spend a long, long time telling her, or God, that we do not like her and we wonder and wonder why we ever had to meet her at all. But trouble is not to be reasoned with; she is utterly unreasonable. She is to be used.

Please disabuse your minds of the erroneous thought that if you are good, or a really spiritual Christian, totally yielded and consecrated, your life is therefore to be a charmed one and that God will spare you from trouble or disappointment. No, to reach such a fine place of consecration and yieldedness, is only to make you a fit candidate for tribulation. Tribulation is a word God uses in relation to saints. The etymology of the word means “threshing.” A farmer does not thresh weeds: he threshes the golden wheat, that the grain may be separated from the chaff and sticks. He is seeking grain, not trying to pound out some straw. Therefore He says, “Tribulation worketh patience” – that is, the golden grain of patience, longsuffering and kindness comes by way of threshing or tribulation. Think of the splendid spiritual grain of character and noble living produced only through the tribulation process. The spirit throne and quality of the mighty men of old came only through trouble and suffering. If the Christian has anything that remotely resembles the character of Christ he can make trouble to be a servant to bring forth the best in him. This I suggest – that “Trouble is a servant.”

But trouble in itself is neutral, or passive; the whole matter depends upon how we use it. One may take an inactive attitude and lose the benefit of the trial; he may justify himself, and become bitter or resentful; or it can make him hard, cruel and cynical. People who have no faith, no perspective of thought or vision, let trouble do all sorts of harmful and cruel things to them. But thanks be to God, there are many wonderful people upon whom trouble has fallen who were able to see and discern behind its mask a servant, at their beckon and call, to build them lives of strength and beauty.

In a simple study of such lives we find a certain creative power which makes out of their calamity a magnificent privilege. You have noticed in lives a two-fold reaction to trouble or tragedy; either it will break us in spirit, melting the hardness and bringing us in our helplessness to God; or it will throw us upon our feeble resources and human reasonings – and this, in turn, at times hardens us in spirit, makes us critical and often cynical. It robs the heart of the great privilege of trusting God and the developing of the life into rich and helpful avenues. Trouble will make your either bitter or better. Notice how very much alike these words are, and how very little is needed to change them; just the letter “I.” It is the “I” that changes the whole matter. When the “I” keeps out of the question, out of the difficulty, life will be better, but when the “I” is introduced and we get mixed in the trouble, life will become bitter and we get hard. Too many times this “I” gets in the way, the poor, little hurt ego gets a slap and down the street he runs, screaming for attention; the dear little ego sits in his doorway and weeps tears of self-pity until his eyes are so red and inflamed he cannot see things as they are or should be. It takes the quiet heart, peace of spirit, and clear vision (long range, if you please,) to interpret trouble in terms of strength.

Some live as though life, and the Christian experience, were some kind of a slot machine; you put in a dime’s worth of kindness and pull out three years of blessing; then five cents worth of charity and you think God must bless you next Saturday night. Be very good, kind, or generous and next week the wind will blow you a fortune. It is true that what we sow we shall also reap; and bread cast upon the waters shall return, but God is not too clear on the time element. So we shall not always receive our justice here and now.

Jesus never taught His followers to expect justice. Paul did not receive justice; even great leaders in history did not always receive justice here and now. Do not mistake me: I do not mean that the Christian or spiritually –minded one is not conscious of the hurt, or the trouble or the injustice. Believe me, the Holy Spirit makes one all the more sensitive to the pain, the hurt, and wrong, but the victorious soul has found the gift of grace and the love of God sufficient to hinder the trouble from marring his spirit.

The closer one gets to Christ the more sensitive he will be to pain, to little, petty, mean ways and all the train of the unkind and unlovely things which would vex the heart and tarnish the spirit. The eyes are now anointed and he sees difficulty as an opportunity to overcome and experience a higher life. I am sure we have all lived long enough o have had some injustice done us. Yet today, God has given us grace not to harbor any resentment or hard feelings. To have trouble, or injustice and know the feeling of it, and yet live above and far from its damaging power is a sign of real spirituality, an evidence of Christian character He has wrought in the life.

Someone learned a real injustice done me in the material things one time, and he was horrified because it came from a Christian source. “Such treatment as that,” he said, “is absolutely wrong. I would not stand for it.” Of course it was wrong and very unfair, and at times I was amazed and tried, but I kept my heart and life open for justice and the right thing to be done by me; but I was neglected and seemingly forgotten. Nevertheless, God had taken me quite a way on the road and I knew He would take care of the matter so I took of His grace and love, and stood it. Consequently it never caused me to have a resentful spirit; nor did I allow the hurt and the disappointment to fester into a sore. Today I praise God for the reality of His life in my heart to keep it sweet when trouble and unfair dealing would chill it to indifference and hardness.

Had we time, we could trace through history both sacred and secular, scores of noble men and women who were not spared the hard places in life. They were good, moral, kind, and noble people; yet they came under the disciplinary measures of trouble. Certainly Paul knew trouble or he never could have written, “In labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more often, in death oft. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice suffered shipwreck.” Yet out of it all he comes purified and strengthened, a noble expression of God’s grace and an example for the ages to come, that trouble may be used to build Christian character. We are following in the steps of Christ and He said, “The servant is not above his lord.” And we read of Him, “Though a Son, yet learned He obedience through the things which he suffered.”

What are you seeking in your trouble today? Is it deliverance or development? You may have the one and not grow or you may have both and grow. Get the development first and the deliverance will be yours too. Let this servant minister to you in a way no other servant can. Take the positive attitude and use your trouble as one of the most skillful and wonderful instruments God ever placed into your hands for the working out of the character of Christ to be duplicated in you.

Trouble, if correctly used, will bring you great peace and a deep surrender of spirit which nothing else can work in you. I have not gone far on the way but I can give as my personal testimony that these deeper revelations of truth and clear understanding of the things of God have come through suffering. May He teach you how to use this strange servant to build your life into noble proportions of strength and beauty and from your life, healing streams of understanding and love will flow to broken lives and timid, fearful hearts, “For he who suffers most has most to give.”


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