Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Tribulations and Triumph

Photo Courtesy Of: Priscilla Du Preez

After they had preached the gospel in that town and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, to Iconium, and to Antioch, strengthening the disciples by encouraging them to continue in the faith and by telling them, 'It is necessary to go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.'” ~Acts 14:21-22

I don't know about you, but I have been growing more than just a little bit weary lately. Everywhere we turn, there is a new issue that has arisen, a new trial to face, a new question to get to the bottom of. A pandemic, a quarantine, deaths, debates over masks, murders, debates over racism, human trafficking allegations, murder hornets, infighting in the church, election year drama, personal attacks on social media, and the list goes on and on and on. It's a lot. And we're only half way through the year.

While at least some of these have caught us by surprise this year, not one of them caught our Lord by surprise. And while the details of the trials are surprising to us, as believers we should not be surprised by the existence of trials themselves. If we are believers, we will face trials, tribulations, and persecution in this world. It's guaranteed. 

Matthew 10:22 says, "You will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." John 15:18-21 agrees, "If the world hates you, understand that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they don’t know the one who sent me."  

Not only will we face persecution from the world, but it is also guaranteed that we'll face tests and trials that are allowed by God and for the purpose of our growth in Him. Paul makes this point in Romans while James does, as well, in the book by the same name.

 Romans 5:3a-5 says, "We also boast in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our heartsthrough the Holy Spirit who was given to us." 

James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing."

As hard as this season is, something we must never forget is that not only do these trials serve a great purpose, but the Lord is always with us throughout every trial, tribulation, and persecution we face. In Joshua 1:9 we read these beautiful words, "Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Deuteronomy 31:8 says, "The Lord is the one who will go before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” 

The Lord is always there for us, ready to comfort us and give us strength and encouragement when we're experiencing life's trials and tribulations. All we need to do is just run to your Savior's arms and be covered in His love. 

We will, as the verse in Acts tells us, face many tribulations. Those may be persecutions or they may be trials and tests. But whatever they are, they are blessings in disguise! One of my all-time favorite books is The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. In this life-changing book, Christian goes through trial after trial after trial. He is beaten, scourged, persecuted, mocked, and he has to leave all those who are near and dear to Him. This is sometimes the cost of being as a Christian! But, throughout the book, Christian endures, he blesses His Lord and Savior, and at last, after a long, tiring, journey filled with pain, despair, and tribulations of every kind, he at last enters the Kingdom of God! And, I can't even begin to express to you his joy and happiness when He enters Heaven. Every trial he had ever faced on earth brought him closer to his Lord and made Heaven all the more magnificent. 

So, dear sister, next time you face a hard and trying time, trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, and wholeheartedly thank Him for that blessed trial or test that He has given to you to endure. For they really are blessings-they will bring you closer to Him, will test and grow your faith and trust, and will make Heaven all the sweeter! 2020 may have been an incredibly hard year so far, but it doesn't get the final word!

1 comment:

  1. This is one of my favorite verses: Joshua 1:9 "Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” 2020 will not get the final word. Thank you for writing such an encouraging post that speaks directly to my life in this season. Blessings to you. https://yvonnechase.com/covid-19-and-finding-love/


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