Tribulation is Inevitable

Psalm 9:9, The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

As Christians, we need to always remember the inevitability of tribulation. Sometimes, as we grow complacent in our comfortable lives, we become shocked when something bad happens and we look up to God and say, “Why are You doing this to me?” How dare we look up to our Creator and put blame on Him. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation.” Tribulation is a promise. Not a promise God made to smite us with, but a promise of the sinful world we live in. However, Jesus doesn’t leave us hanging. Directly after this reality, He gives us assurance, “But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus overcame the world and its tribulations, which means the world and the tribulations we face are not invincible.

There is good news in spite of this tribulation reality: We share in the victory of Christ! Paul writes on this victory:

For if we have been united with Him in a death like His [via baptism], we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death He died He died to sin, once for all, but the life He lives He lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:5-11)

Christ won the victory for us by conquering death on the cross and rising from the dead. In our baptism, Jesus sets us free from this death in sin. Of course, we still die, but the difference lies in that we no longer die in sin as believers, per se. When a person dies in sin (unbelief), he or she commits the unforgivable sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit and faces the wrath of God. However, Jesus took the wrath of God upon Himself, and for believers we die with Him in our baptism and as we rise from the waters we are made alive to Him; and so when we die as believers, we no longer die in sin but in Christ and experience His resurrection to be with Him in eternity.

Meanwhile, as we live on this earth, we have to deal with today’s problems. Even so, we have the confidence of approaching God as our refuge. No one else besides God’s people have that confidence! When our relationships are in danger, God grants us grace and guidance to help heal our crippled relationships. When we bring troubles upon ourselves through our willful sins, God fills our repentant hearts with His forgiving compassion and love. When we face problems that seem impossible to overcome, He gives us strength and courage to endure through those trials and tribulations. As we face our inevitable tribulations, remember Paul’s words: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:8), and the tribulations he experienced were far worse than what we’re currently experiencing (unless, of course, you’re being tortured and killed for your faith, in which case Paul can sympathise).

Yes, it sucks that we have to suffer, but our current suffering is nothing compared to the glory of Christ that we will bask in for all eternity.

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