Do you feel swamped by the world and its woes? Last week’s column ended with a vrese from John 16:33 “…In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Readings from two devotional books early one morning and watching nightly news while ironing stirred this story. We are always working, doing this or that around the house or on the job. An old hymn says: ‘We’ll work ‘till Jesus comes, then we’ll be gathered home.” Yet, in our working, it is easy to grow weary when swamped with the world and its woes. Hopefully, this writing will be a source of encouragement that will restore hope and happiness as we work ‘till the day is done.
When listening to commentators or news casts sharing gloom and doom, depression can become a friend we should steer clear of. Staying connected to Christ through His Word and following the ways of His Son will keep us lifted in love when it seems the whole world is sinking in sin. Listening to His Word through people who serve Him with gladness and reading books that open the eyes our hearts to His ways keep me lifted.
Corrie ten Boom says, “As we look around we get distressed, if we look within, we will be depressed; so look up at Him and be at rest.”
When we look around and see the hurt and the agony, and we ask if there is any help for the broken heart, if there is any help for those who are devastated by drugs, any help for those who commit the worst of crimes and are in prison? Is there an help when the economy around us seems to be taking a downward plunge and dragging us down with it? Is there any help when the world makes what is right wrong and what is wrong right?
We have to remember the five times in the New Testament when Jesus said, “CHEER UP”! ( Matthew 9:2, Matthew 14:27, John 16:33, Acts 23:11, and Acts 27:22)
As Mary Crowley says: “In the midst of tormenting disease and natural disasters, we can cheer up – even when the worst is yet to come – if we know the secrets of triumph. It is important to know the problems, the purpose, and peace, and the power!”
Her truthful words written over forty years ago still stand true today. The world’s hurt touches us. Sometimes our brightest hopes become a heartache, our highest ambitions become ashes. The green, green, grass of home can be decimated by the graves of those we love. We can’t ignore the fact that we will have tribulation. Yet, with problems there is also purpose. Tribulation comes to our world as promised in God’s Word.
Corrie ten Boom, through tribulation and suffering, found triumph! Tribulation is suffering with a purpose. NO matter what we go through in this world- the suffering, sadness, sorrow, - there can be purpose that we might never see or understand until our work here is done and we are called home to heaven. What do we do with (and through) our seasons of suffering?
Reading Revelation brings John, the author of this amazing book of the Bible being fulfilled before our eyes, to mind. Can you imagine his suffering through seasons of persecution, isolation, and death for being a soldier of the cross and serving Christ? His writings were sent from God in a vision to be explained by an angel. John wrote it all down – the words of God and Jesus Christ and everything he heard and saw. The beginning of the book says, “If you read this prophecy aloud to the church, you will receive a special blessing from the Lord. Those who listen to it being read and do what it says will also be blessed. For the time is near when these things will all come true.”
John suffered with a purpose. His rewards came from knowing the Word God sent for him to record would warn the world and bring glory and honor to God. The ending of Revelation shares words for us to heed today…”He who has said all these things declares: Yes, I am coming soon.”
Think of John the Baptist who suffered with a purpose. People of his time declared he was a lunatic. He shared a message of good news that people were not ready to hear, while paving the way for the Promised One. Being chosen to baptize Jesus was an earthly reward. Suffering and dying for the cause of Christ had a purpose in his life.
There is nothing that happens to us that God cannot use. A great grief is like a bonfire that burns out all the trash. Sorrows and tribulations provide depth and shadows that lead to sunshine when we allow our problems to have purpose, peace, and power when we let God lead us through the darkness that tries to smother us.
Suffering and tough times will never go away. Worries and woes of this world will continue to swamp us with the enemy trying to steal, kill, and destroy every hope, dream, home, marriage, school, church, government, every person on this earth who honors and loves the Lord…but, he is a liar and a loser. Those who suffer with purpose and praise for our Father will reap rewards that can only be imagined.
Let us tune out the nightly news of gloom and doom and turn to the Bible for revelation and promises of Christ our King. The end of the story comes with Victory in Jesus and all of His children living happily ever after in heaven…with Him!
Let us remember the words of Corrie ten Boom when we are troubled by these perilous times. “As we look around we get distressed, if we look within, we will be depressed, so look up to Him and be at rest.”