“Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” is an old African American spiritual song that was sung in the days of slavery way before its publication in 1867. Sorrow was their intimate shadow, but hope led its footsteps.
The devil’s arsenal of weapons includes the temptation into isolation, to permanently separate us from the only One who personally knows our troubles.
The writer and singers of this spiritual knew that truth well. They finished their lament with pure gospel: “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Glory hallelujah!” It rings out the virtues of hope-filled believers: long-suffering, patient, with joyful endurance through which we declare our identity in Christ. As Jesus suffered, so do we.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).
Repeat the rescue: God’s love is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit! We are no longer slaves to our sufferings!
We are free to believe the lie of isolation—curling around our troubles, staring inward through our tears—or look up and see our Savior’s pierced hands holding ours. Unwind in his presence.