Nowhere does the Bible teach that Christians are to be exempt from the tribulations and natural disasters that come upon the world. It does teach that the Christian can face tribulation, crisis, calamity, and personal suffering with a supernatural power that is not available to the person outside Christ. The early Christians were able to experience joy in their hearts in the midst of trials, troubles, and depression. They counted suffering for Christ not as a burden or misfortune, but as a great honor, as evidence that Christ counted them worthy to witness to Him through suffering. They never forgot what Christ Himself had gone through for their salvation; and to suffer for His name’s sake was regarded as a gift rather than a cross. Christians can rejoice in tribulation because they have eternity’s values in view. When the pressures are on, they look beyond their present predicaments to the glories of heaven. The thought of the future life with its prerogatives and joys helps to make the trials of the present seem light and transient.
Father, help me to go beyond the afflictions and tribulations of our age, and to look toward the inheritance reserved for us in heaven.
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. (Romans 8:18 NLT)
From the daily devotional by Billy Graham, posted to YouVersion.
Last night was a late one for me: I spent it at the garage getting my truck worked on. This was the third trip in recent weeks to take care of several routine maintenance items. And to replace, three times, a faulty sensor. As I’m sure you all know, these items add up in cost real quick but they are just a normal part of vehicle ownership that we expect to do at certain points; the owner’s manual even lays out most of the items and suggested times to do them.
Near the end of the night my wife’s cousin, who is our mechanic, began to joke about how some folks approach maintenance of the vehicles: some act like they had no idea they would have to take care of such items, and some think if it’s “broken” it’s time to get a new one, among other things.
There are people who approach the things we face in our walk of faith in much the same way, reacting as if a Christian should never face some of the things we do. And too many will turn their backs on God when the trials and tribulations come. But the Bible, our “owner’s manual” if you will, clearly teaches us to expect these very things. Paul wrote that all who would live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will face persecution. Jesus Himself said if they did what they did to Him, the world would surely do the same to us. God’s Word also tells us to rejoice when we suffer because we are in the family of God’s children.
“Stuff” happens to us all at one point or another in this life. But dearly hold to the promise that has been given us: it will all be worth it in the end. And remember if His Words about the “stuff” are true, and daily living shows us it is, so are all the other promises He has made.
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4 KJV)
1 Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
Last week the weather forecast was for several inches of snow for our area. We got only a small amount though, not that I’m complaining. Then we had a forecast for average temperatures over the weekend; Saturday we were over 50F! That’s hardly “average” for where we are in January. Then last night I heard the sweetest words, ones I never thought I would hear: “Folks, it’s totally up in the air, we really don’t know what the conditions will be, just that they will vary a lot from north to south”, the weatherman said. Finally! One admitted they not only didn’t know but, more or less, were clueless. For all our satellites, super computers, complex algorithm weather models, and such, we still can’t even say what tomorrow’s weather will be like. Some “wisdom” we have to boast about, isn’t it?
But the good news in this thought is God knows. Not only does He know, He controls it all. Think about that the next time the devil tries to disrupt your life, steal your joy with little worries over this and that. If God’s hand controls the huge stuff, like weather systems, don’t you think He is able to handle all the other smaller things, too? Just give it over to Him; He knows what to do with it.