Some have the illusion that Christians live comfortable lives, unaffected by the troubles that normally beset men. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus himself said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). No one is exempt from the trouble of this life. Hence, we need to stand strong in the midst of these troubles. The reason why we study the Bible, go to church and listen to sermons is to prepare us to face challenges that will come our way. Now, whether we are strong in our faith or not will be proved by the manner we handle our troubles. The Book of Proverbs says, “If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!” (Prov. 24:10).
Many of the troubles we are facing are meant to strengthen our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As we move closer to the Day of the Lord, the intensity of these troubles will increase. When the prophet Jeremiah was complaining about his plight, the Lord warned, “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” (Jer. 12:5). Indeed, if we cannot handle our small problems, how can we handle bigger ones when they come? We often complain about our troubles, yet compared to the troubles of others, ours are so insignificant. As it is, many of us have not seen real troubles yet. When we talk of persecution concerning our faith, we have not been persecuted in the same manner and magnitude as those who live in countries where Christianity is not welcomed. So, if we cannot survive here where we are free to worship, how can we survive in those “closed” countries?
It is amazing how some Christians can live double-standard lives. On one hand, they can be good counselors—yet on the other hand, they easily give up when they go through troubles themselves. This was the case of Job when he was in trouble. Eliphaz, his friend, admonished him, saying, “Think how you have instructed many, how you have strengthened feeble hands. Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees. But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed” (Job. 4:3-5). Just as we encourage others to be strong in the midst of trials, we ought to be strong ourselves. We will all go through some form of testing, but these should make us stronger and not weaker.
In his epistle, James encouraged those who go through trials, saying, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). This being the case, we should not resist trials nor be resentful of them. God allows them to prepare us for the best, because trials often precede blessings. Jesus likens it to a woman giving birth. He said, “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world” (John 16:21). Should the woman resist the pain and choose to abort it, she will not have her bundle of joy.
Jesus also emphasized the fact that we need to persevere if we want to be saved. He said, “But he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matt. 24:13). Indeed, there is no easy way to heaven. Our faith will be tested in many ways, but we should not falter. We need to stand firm in our faith and not be moved by whatever trouble will come our way.
Jesus set a good example for us to emulate when he “endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2). What he endured was not an easy test, since it required him to suffer fully—even death on the cross. He could have resisted it and passed on the opportunity, but he prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt. 26:39). Had he not gone through the hour of trial, there could have been no salvation for us. Therefore, let us endure this life’s troubles and be expectant of God’s blessings. We need to be strong in the midst of these troubles. Just as Jesus overcame the tribulations of this world, we shall also overcome. Hallelujah!