1. TROUBLES CREATED UNNECESSARILY
a. What wise words remind us to avoid strife at home? Proverbs 17:1; 21:9.
“In some families, a spirit of contradiction and discussion mars the harmony; every statement is, as it were, dissected, and the absolute correctness of every word calculated. It interferes seriously with social freedom when unimportant inaccuracies are watched for and exposed for the mere sake of exposure. Brothers and sisters also sometimes acquire an almost unconscious habit of teasing each other, half in earnest, half in fun. This is particularly uncomfortable for everybody else, whatever doubtful pleasure the parties themselves may experience.”—The Health Reformer, February 1, 1874.
b. Explain how, on one occasion, Peter was overtaken by trouble on the lake. Matthew 14:26–31. How do we too often act like Peter when we are in similar situations?
“When trouble comes upon us, how often we are like Peter! We look upon the waves, instead of keeping our eyes fixed upon the Saviour. Our footsteps slide, and the proud waters go over our souls.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 382.
2. HELP IN TIME OF NEED
a. What condition will decide, to a great extent, whether we shall see the helping hand of God in our behalf or not? Mark 9:23; Matthew 8:26 (first part).
“All things are possible to him that believeth; and whatsoever things we desire when we pray, if we believe that we receive them we shall have them. This faith will penetrate the darkest cloud and bring rays of light and hope to the drooping, desponding soul. It is the absence of this faith and trust which brings perplexity, distressing fears, and surmisings of evil. God will do great things for His people when they put their entire trust in Him.’’—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 140.
b. What circumstance will interrupt our communication with the Lord so that He will not hear our prayers? Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:1, 2.
c. How do we often get into trouble unnecessarily? James 3:1–6. Explain how most of our troubles could be avoided.
“An excited temper and cutting censure will not impress the people or gain their sympathy. . . .
“The largest share of the annoyances of life, its daily corroding cares, its heartaches, its irritation, is the result of a temper uncontrolled. The harmony of the domestic circle is often broken by a hasty word and abusive language. How much better were it left unsaid. One smile of pleasure, one peaceful, approving word spoken in the spirit of meekness, would be a power to soothe, to comfort, and to bless. The government of self is the best government in the world. By putting on the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, ninety-nine out of a hundred of the troubles which so terribly embitter life might be saved. Many excuse their hasty words and passionate tempers by saying: ‘I am sensitive; I have a hasty temper.’ This will never heal the wounds made by hasty, passionate words.”—Ibid., vol. 4, p. 348.
3. HELP IN TIME OF NEED (CONTINUED)
a. What should irritable parents always keep in mind in times of difficulty and crisis? Psalms 28:1, 2; 27:14.
“Fretful and peevish fathers and mothers are giving their children lessons which at some period in their lives they would give all the world, were it theirs, could they unlearn. Children must see in the lives of their parents that consistency which is in accordance with their faith. By leading a consistent life and exercising self-control, parents may mold the characters of their children.”—Child Guidance, p. 482.
“We are in a world of suffering. Difficulty, trial, and sorrow await us all along the way to the heavenly home. But there are many who make life’s burdens doubly heavy by continually anticipating trouble. If they meet with adversity or disappointment they think that everything is going to ruin, that theirs is the hardest lot of all, that they are surely coming to want. Thus they bring wretchedness upon themselves and cast a shadow upon all around them. Life itself becomes a burden to them. But it need not be thus. It will cost a determined effort to change the current of their thought. But the change can be made. Their happiness, both for this life and for the life to come, depends upon their fixing their minds upon cheerful things. Let them look away from the dark picture, which is imaginary, to the benefits which God has strewn in their pathway, and beyond these to the unseen and eternal.”—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 247, 248.
b. What has the Lord promised to do for His obedient children when they cry to Him in their need? Psalms 34:17; 145:19; 1 Peter 5:7.
“In the way that leads to the City of God there are no difficulties which those who trust in Him may not overcome. There are no dangers which they may not escape. There is not a sorrow, not a grievance, not a human weakness, for which He has not provided a remedy.
“None need abandon themselves to discouragement and despair. Satan may come to you with the cruel suggestion, ‘Yours is a hopeless case. You are irredeemable.’ But there is hope for you in Christ. God does not bid us overcome in our own strength. He asks us to come close to His side. Whatever difficulties we labor under, which weigh down soul and body, He waits to make us free.”—Ibid., p. 249.
4. CONTENTMENT IN THE HOME
a. What example of Christ, if followed, will close the door against a multitude of troubles in the home? Matthew 20:25–28.
“In order to be happy, we must strive to attain to that character which Christ exhibited. One marked peculiarity of Christ was His self-denial and benevolence. He came not to seek His own. He went about doing good, and this was His meat and drink. We may, by following the example of the Saviour, be in holy communion with Him; and by daily seeking to imitate His character and follow His example, we shall be a blessing to the world and shall secure for ourselves contentment here and an eternal reward hereafter.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 227.
b. What will contentment do within the home circle, and how should it be cultivated? 1 Timothy 6:6–8; Psalm 37:16.
“Too many cares and burdens are brought into our families, and too little of natural simplicity and peace and happiness is cherished. There should be less care for what the outside world will say and more thoughtful attention to the members of the family circle.”—My Life Today, p. 169.
“Whether the home be humble or elegant, its appointments costly or the reverse, there will be no happiness within its walls unless the spirit of its inmates is in harmony with the divine will. Contentment should reign within the household.”—The Adventist Home, p. 154.
c. What pledge shows the importance of faithfulness within the privacy of the home? Psalm 101:2. Explain why contentment is key to a happy home life.
“In the home where true courtesy prevails, it seems to meet you on the very threshold. You feel the kindly welcome on entering. No rude eyes scan your dress. No angry voices are heard upstairs. No sullen children are sent from the room. No peremptory orders are given to cover the delinquencies of housekeepers or servants. A delightful atmosphere pervades the house—unmistakable, yet indescribable.”—The Health Reformer, February 1, 1874.
5. HEALING HEARTS AND HOMES
a. What has God provided for every need? Hosea 6:1, 2; Malachi 4:2.
“Let every tried and tempted one remember that the Majesty of heaven has been tempted in all points like as the members of the human family are tempted, and He knows how to succor those who are beset by the powers of darkness.”—Spalding and Magan Collection, p. 292.
“In every trial, if we seek Him, Christ will give us help. Our eyes will be opened to discern the healing promises recorded in His word. The Holy Spirit will teach us how to appropriate every blessing that will be an antidote to grief. For every bitter draft that is placed to our lips, we shall find a branch of healing.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 248.
b. What experience must we have before the Lord can help us out of our troubles and heal our infirmities? Isaiah 27:5; Acts 5:31; Psalm 103:3.
“We are not to let the future, with its hard problems, its unsatisfying prospects, make our hearts faint, our knees tremble, our hands hang down. [Isaiah 27:5 quoted.] Those who surrender their lives to His guidance and to His service will never be placed in a position for which He has not made provision. Whatever our situation, if we are doers of His word, we have a Guide to direct our way; whatever our perplexity, we have a sure Counselor; whatever our sorrow, bereavement, or loneliness, we have a sympathizing Friend.”—Ibid., pp. 248, 249.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What is the result of an uncontrolled temper?
2. How do many make life’s burdens doubly heavy for themselves?
3. What is the real cause of perplexity, distress, and fear?
4. Mention one of Jesus traits that we should develop to avoid unnecessary trouble.
5. Facing the perils of the future, what do we owe ourselves and our families?