Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Devotional: Through Many Tribulations

“Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”—Acts 14:22

Often when I read this verse I quickly breeze over, barely acknowledging the weight of its meaning. The apostles weren’t merely offering helpful tips to be a Christian. They were giving a definitive statement; tribulation is a given necessity in order to enter the Kingdom. Paul had just been stoned and left for dead, and now he is telling the young Christians that this is how we must live. Surely it must have seemed strange to a new believer that this much suffering be necessary.

You do not have to live long as a believer to either experience suffering in your own life, or witness it in the lives of those around you. Pain is very real. Babies die suddenly. Children rebel and turn away from families. Cancer afflicts little children. Hurricanes wipe away entire villages. My relatively short time on earth reminds me that I cannot postpone the inevitable. It is through many tribulations that we must enter the kingdom. But this is not a morbid text. It is not a death sentence for the repentant sinner. There is a promise attached to the tribulation—we will enter the Kingdom. This momentary affliction of earthly suffering will be made right in the Kingdom of our Christ. We are able to live, serve, and even die freely because we seek the coming Kingdom, the city that is to come.

We may weep and grieve rightly through the “toils and snares” but we can trust that this grace that brought us through will one day lead us safely home to the Savior.

May this truth strengthen you today, dear Christian. Whether you are facing a sunny season in your life or whether the clouds are down, know that the Kingdom is coming. The darkness has been overcome by the Son.

7 comments:

Jackie Bendolph said...

My tribulations seem to stem from my sinful choices, and not from my belonging to Christ, so does this verse apply to both situations?

debt said...

Thanks, Courtney, for reminding us that living in this world as a Christian does not mean that we ar immune to the curse of sin. Life is hard. We bleed, we hurt, we experience loss and pain, people misunderstand and judge us, etc.. As Jesus said, "In this world you will have tribulation, but I have overcome the world". James said, "Count it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials...". I believe this verse, but let's explain it. The counting or considering it all joy is a conscious belief in a faithful and good God who has my best in the situation. It has nothing to do with my feeling at the moment of the trial, for I'm reminded in the Psalms that "weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning". Again, the weeping comes from the hurt, pain, loss that we feel. The joy comes from the only one who can make sense of it and holds us in the palm of His hand. The Lord Jesus Christ who bore our sorrows. He still does. I agree, may all those who feel the sting of this life, find our Saviour to be the comforter and peace He promised to be. I'm sure they will, because He keeps all of His promises.

cdt said...

Jackie,

Thank you for your comment. You ask a very good, and relevent question. In this verse, the disciples are speaking to believers who have been experiencing suffering from the outside. If what you mean by your question is refering to consequences of perpetual sin, then I would say that this verse does not apply to this situation. If you are refering to the suffering in temptation that a believer might feel simply as a result of still being in this world (Romans 7), then I would say that this verse could apply.

I think the agony we feel over our sin, and our lack of perfection, is a form of suffering. But it should make us run to Christ. It should make us cling even more to the Cross, which is our only plea before a holy God.

Does this help? Thank you for your comment. It made me think!

cdt said...

Momma,

Thank you for your comment. You are very right. It made me think even more about the truth of God's Word.

Thank you for your wisdom. You add great insight and truth!

Jen in Budapest said...

I noticed you like Elisabeth Elliot's "Let me be a woman". She rocks!

cdt said...

Jen,

Thank you for your comment! I love Elisabeth Elliot. She has had a profound effect on my life!

Thanks,

courtney

Anonymous said...

No. However, God will still have mercy of you. Repent. There will still be consequences for your sins but it will be more for discipline and sanctification. Read 2 Samuel chapters 11&12. David sinned but God had mercy of him, still his son died. So just meditate on this. Ask God to open your eyes and give you discernment and he will guide you. God bless you.