Through Much Tribulation
by Tamra Lee
"We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." Acts 14:22b
We are tempted to think that when we come to Christ ours will be an easier road. For after all, doesn't it say in the Proverbs, "The way of the transgressor is hard"? Yet it is in understanding the place of difficulty and hardness that we find strength in Christ.
The way of the transgressor IS hard; though he be rich and famous, rarely have a care in the world, or have everyone around him adoring his name. His way is hard because, whether he has few or many cares in this world, they all lead down the same road: to hell.
Psalm 73 verifies this. Asaph was enduring great difficulty, struggling from day to day. As he struggled, he noticed that the ungodly were prosperous! This hardly seemed fair: here he was barely making a living from day to day, struggling with various trials, trying his best to serve God, and the ungodly sat in wealth and contentment. Asaph at first grew envious of the rich. How could God be fair in all of this? Then he realized as he went to the sanctuary of God: "Surely You set them in slippery places: You cast them down into destruction ... So foolish was I, and ignorant... You shall guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory." (vs. 17-24)
Asaph realized true delight and true riches: "Whom have I in heaven but You? and there is none on the earth I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fails: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever." (vs. 25-26)
Sometimes it seems a hard road God takes us down. Disappointment, illness, aloneness, trials of various sorts; all while the ungodly live life to the fullest, and seem to have their dreams come true. Yet it is not so. God sees the beginning from the end; and He sees the heart and what it needs to become a Christ-honoring soul.
Very often it needs intermittent bouts of tribulation. Christian on the road to the Celestial City found this out. It wasn't Appollyon he had to fight. No, he fell into the slough of despond; he foolishly crossed lines he was told not to and wound up a prisoner to Giant Despair, of Doubting Castle. Others came and mocked him for remaining on the road to the City; they urged him to take a shortcut, or abandon his journey all together. Though he got confused, sinned and got off track at times, Christian remained faithful, and was joyfully received into the Celestial City.
"Tribulation works patience" Paul instructs us in Romans 5:3. There is a purpose--a Divine purpose--in the illness, the aloneness, the difficulties and troubles of the true believer in Jesus Christ! God is at work through our difficulties: conforming us into the image of His Son. (Romans 8)
Take heart, downhearted Christian! Though our lives are not always easy, there is meaning and purpose to everything that comes our way.
Cling to Christ, fainthearted! Find comfort in His Word, and you will have strength to go on until YOU reach the Celestial City!
© 1999 by Tamra Lee. This article may be copied on these terms: 1. That it is copied completely, verbatum, unless permission granted by author to do otherwise. 2. The author is credited. 3. No charge be made for distribution of it. 4. All glory go to Jesus Christ; Author of all Truth.
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