Listen:  98 Question 1

Faithfulness to the Lord is no guarantee that life will be easy.  Let’s consider the words of the Lord Jesus in John 15:18-20, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”  The day that we accepted the Lord Jesus Christ, we gained a new enemy: Satan.  We also gained a new address as we read in Philippians 3:20, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Because we are no longer of this world, we will find that the world hates us, even as they hated our loving savior.

Let’s look at the words of the Lord in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  In this sinful world, we will go through tribulation, but the Lord has given us His peace; He tells us to be of good cheer, in spite of the tribulation we endure.  Why?  Because He has overcome the world.  Through Christ, we have also overcome the world as we read in 1 John 5:4-5, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”

Besides persecutions, Christians also face problems common to others.  We have financial difficulties; we have physical difficulties; we deal with grief, anger, and depression.  However, we learn of the Lord’s provision and power in 1 Corinthians 10:13 which says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”  What a blessed promise from our Father.  He will not allow us to have to deal with any situation that is too difficult for us.  Of course, some are stronger than others, so some may go through more difficult trials than others.  Notice that the Lord equips us so that we “may be able to bear it.”  It’s not that the Lord takes away every difficult trial, but He strengthens us so that we can handle the trial.

In His marvelous wisdom and grace, the Lord often instructs Christians to minister to the needs of fellow believers.  We see the instruction to minister to those in financial struggles in Ephesians 4:28, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”  The Lord instructs His people to take care of the fatherless and the widows in James 1:27 which says, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”  We have the instruction of the Lord to minister to those who are sick in James 5:14-15, “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”  It seems today that so many people pray and look for great and miraculous actions from the Lord, when the Lord has instructed us to minister to one another’s needs.  Certainly, we should take all our cares to the Lord, but we should also be on the lookout for the Lord’s provision in the person of fellow believers.

To help put all our suffering and trials into perspective, let’s close with reading Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  (98.1)