I’m currently taking a class at Faith Baptist Theological Seminary entitled “Counseling the Suffering.” As part of my course requirements, I had the privilege to read a little book entitled “When Trouble Comes” by Jim Berg. It was a quick read with a heavy impact upon my heart and soul. In this book, Jim Berg outlines a “spiritual CPR” plan that will stabilize an individual when troubles/disasters fall their way. I found this plan to be helpful, biblical, and memorable. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is currently suffering or knows someone who is struggling with some sort of grief or despair.
According to the book, the “spiritual CPR” plan or “Truths for Times of Trouble” is as follows: 1) The greatest danger is always the flesh, 2) The gospel is always the answer, 3) God’s glory is always the goal, and 4) God Himself is always enough. Let me briefly give some thoughts on each of these truths.
First, Jim Berg makes clear that “the greatest danger is always the flesh”. By this statement, he is calling our attention to the fact that in the midst of trial and heartache there is always dangers to avoid and opportunities to be gained. In other words, our own sinful bent towards self-centeredness and cruelty is a danger or pitfall to avoid, but glorifying Christ is an opportunity to be gained during any tragedy.
Second, “the gospel is always the answer”. By this statement, Jim Berg focuses our attention on the fact that the Gospel that was powerful enough to save us from ultimate destruction (i.e. Hell) is certainly powerful enough to save us from the troubles and heartaches of this life. However, this salvation may not come in the form of the elimination or alleviation of the pain, but in our maturation and growth despite the pain. Berg challenges us to believe the Gospel and to live in light of it as we experience our troubles.
Third, the author states that “God’s glory is always the goal”. Here we are told that this is the ultimate end state of all pain and suffering. Thus, a key question to ask in our pain and suffering is: Are we suffering well? That is to say, are we glorifying God in how we act and react despite the difficult situations in our lives?
And fourthly and finally, Jim Berg states that in any trouble “God Himself is always enough”. In other words, He is our fortress, our rock, and strength and we can run to Him in our time of trouble and grief. Why? Because He’s always there and He Himself is always enough.