In recent weeks, I have thought a lot about the word tribulation.
Part of the reason for that is that I have been teaching through the book of Revelation on Wednesday evenings for some time. Clearly, the idea of tribulation is a significant one in this book.
But even moreso, my family has been going through what we believe easily can be described as tribulation. One definition of tribulation is distress or suffering caused by oppression or persecution. Our troubles do not fit that definition. But other definitions include “a trying experience” or “an experience that causes someone to suffer.” That does fit the bill.
There is something about watching your own child suffer that is impossible to describe. We have been surrounded by many who have shown love and concern for us in this time. All of them have been helpful in some ways. But there are a couple of families who have experienced similar situations as our own. They offer more than sympathy; they feel for us in a way no one else can. And for that, we are extremely grateful.
My writing is not intended to focus solely on my issues and troubles. Rather, I am seeking to practice my faith and to help others do the same. And I continue to search the Scriptures to see what they say, for it is in God’s word that we find direction for life and hope for the future.
Jesus warned his disciples that trouble and trials would come our way. He was not at all familiar with the so-called gospel that says God’s children would be healthy and wealthy at all times. He knew the cruelties of life and wanted to prepare his followers for this. In John 16:33, he said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
With these words, our Lord did two things for us. First of all, he was brutally honest with us, making it clear that life will not be easy. But the second thing he did was offer us a promise. “I have overcome the world,” he said, and the implications to that are powerful. Because Jesus had overcome the world, we can do the same.
He is with us and will never forsake us. And because of this, we can face anything that comes our way. There are times it will be hard. But we can do it in his strength.
I don’t like going through tribulation. Given a choice, I would have avoided this particular trial. But as I go through it, I know that I am not alone. Yes, we have family and friends. But more than that, we have the Lord. He will walk us through this. And because of that, ultimate victory is ours.
To God be the glory.