Hope In the Midst of Tribulation

“In this world you will have tribulation,” Jesus tells us with brutal honesty (see John 16:33). Mind you, He is speaking to His disciples in one of the most intimate discourses. This is quite different than what we often get from pulpits and popular books, is it not?

We are told that if we follow Christ, we will be blessed (which we will). However, we tend to take this to mean, sometimes even taught, that our lives will be filled with flowers and sunshine; fullness of healing; a lap of luxury; a spiritual fairytale of “happy ever after.” So, when we suffer, lose our job, our heart is broken, are diagnosed with a terminal illness, are betrayed by a friend, a dream is shattered, etc., we are angry with God. We accuse Him of lying to us. But did He? Does He? Jesus tells us we will experience tribulation—troubles and suffering. It is people who give the impression our lives will be free from these. It is by our own twisting of Scripture we delude ourselves into thinking heaven is a place on earth. So, who has lied to us? Who have we believed? Experience teaches us that we hurt at times, and that life is difficult. Thus, Jesus’ words are shown to be truthful and quite consistent with what we experience. So why do we get upset with Him? He has not lied to us. Rather, it is people—even our own selves—who lie to us!

The difficulty, then, is trusting the rest of what He says: “But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Note, He is saying this the very night He is to be betrayed, tortured, and before being crucified. Even as He is speaking these words Judas was on his way, perhaps already bargaining with, the religious leaders.  Yet, Jesus was already declaring His victory.

Jesus tells us that the sun will shine on both the evil and the good, and that the storms and floods will come to both the wise and the foolish (see Matt. 5:45; 7:24-27). Storms, sometimes severe ones, are a part of life. Do our lives have the roots to keep us grounded (see Ps. 1)? Do our lives have a solid foundation to withstand?

Maybe you are experiencing a major storm in your life even as you read this. Do not be surprised, as though you are the only one to experience something like this (see 1 Pet. 4:12). Contrary to popular belief and “christianized idolatries,” followers of Christ still experience tribulation of various kinds. If this was not the case, then what relevance would there be in having faith, hope, joy and inner peace? These are experienced in the midst of storms.

The temptation that often accompanies our trials, our tribulations, our broken hearts and dreams, is to doubt God’s love. We must always keep His cross and passion in view. That night Jesus experienced to the full our brokenness—betrayal, loneliness, shame, heartache, etc.—all this, as a demonstration of His great love for us.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:31-39

I wrote a song when I was going through a very dark and difficult time. I hope it may give you some encouragement and perspective.

He Is Still Worthy of Praise

Even when storms rob us of sunshine, And our laughter turns to cries;
Even when our nights are the darkest, And there are no stars in our skies…

We look to Christ,
The Holy One who cares;
In brokenness,
We worship Him through tears…

Chorus 1:
(For) He is still worthy of praise;
He is still worthy of honor;
He is still worthy of worship;
He is still worthy of all!

Even when our minds are afflicted, And questions scream with rage;
And our hearts are so deeply wounded, Feeling forsaken in some cage…

We look to Christ,
And bend our knees in dust.
In spite of pain,
We sing to Him with trust…

(Chorus 1)

Through loneliness and friendlessness,
Through deep darkness and through sickness;
Through failure and tears, through raging fears;
Through broken dreams, and angry screams …

Through temptations, and frustrations;
Through broken-hearts, and worlds torn apart;
Through death of loved ones, when grief overcomes –
Through all the loss, we remember His Cross!

Even when we face disappointments, When dreams are smashed on rocks,
And we watch them sink under waters, As our hearts are crushed on the docks.

We bow our souls,
And cannot even speak.
We want to run,
We want to die,
Yet to our God we cry … and we seek …

(Chorus 1)

Chorus 2:

God You are worthy of praise;
You are still worthy of honor;
You are still worthy of worship;
Jesus, You’re worthy of all!
You are still worthy of praise;
You are still worthy of honor;
You are still worthy of worship;
Jesus, You’re worthy of all!
… Through all the loss, we remember Your Cross …

Jesus, You’re worthy of praise.

~ G.P

Be encouraged. Blessings!

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