“…strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14.22 ESV.
Question: what is one of the biggest illusions faith communities portray to the world? Answer: that the Christian Life is free from pain, troubles, and heartaches.
I remember in my mid-thirties having a heated discussion with Mom about being unprepared to handle the constant problems life throws at us. Growing up under the false assumption that life is a formula when applied will result in favorable outcomes, I came to the slow realization that the only person who prospered from such erroneous thinking were the authors and publishers generating such propaganda. Life involves constant battles of survival, obstacles that need to be overcome, and many activities without guaranteed outcomes.
Yet if someone had told me back then what I now know, would things turn out differently?
Maybe. Or maybe not. But it would have been more focused and life-generating.
Today’s scripture was the outcome after the apostle Paul was left stoned to death a few days earlier. Being left dead, his associates gathered him and brought him back to the city where he arose the next day to preach the gospel to his audience. Did Paul know something we don’t?
His message? “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”
God doesn’t necessary always prevent crap from happening in our life. Most of the time, he promises to walk through it with you and I. As he joins us in the cesspool of life, we come to know him better, learn to communicate with him, and develop a trust in him. In the process of overcoming the turmoil, we also grow in godly character and may even redeem the situation for Him. You may also come into contact with others who will witness your patience and trust in Christ. You become a living testimony. When your Savior and Lord works out the mess you are in, you will discover more of his grace. After you walk through several of these undesirable situations, your faith is strengthen. You begin to realize how much God truly loves you.
Yes your circumstances may stink, but life is good. God not only resides in you, but is actively involved in morphing you into his divine image. You slowly or quickly learn that tribulations are the escalators that Father-Son-Spirit use to strengthen and encourage us and others in our daily walk with Him. Like an Olympic athlete, we appreciate the coach; knowing we are being pushed and trained for bigger purposes. The event: a taste of God’s Kingdom now while we wait for the full completion in the world tomorrow. The earlier we realize the circumstances and problems this life brings our way are designed to prepare you and me for eternity, the quicker we will turn to our Savior and walk with Him through the ordeal. The process may be unnatural, but the outcome is definitely supernatural. So the next time you face problems, trials, and obstacles – pray, rejoice and learn from the Master Builder and Coach: Father-Son-Spirit. You may be pleasantly surprised to find yourself rejoicing through the ordeal.
Rooting For You in Christ!
Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Discipleship 360
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