A World of Tribulation

By Nicolas Raymond
By Nicolas Raymond
“…in the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). There is so much trouble in the world today and it makes my heart grieve. It used to make me angry, and it still does a little, but it grieves me in my soul and it makes me wonder why. Why are there troubles in this world? Why do terrorism, and racism, and classism, and sexism, and all of the other isms’ exist? The only answer that I have is HATE! Even writing this right now I am grieved at the amount of hate and destruction that there is in the world. Where is all of the love at in the world?

1 John 4:7-21

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this love, not that we have loved God but the he loves us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the Day of Judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

So again I ask…where is all of the love at in the world? If there are supposedly more Christians now than there ever were than where is the love? I have experience hate and anger. I have experienced the desire to kill after being attacked by the enemy in war. I know the power that hate can have and it eats away at us inside. I remember longing to “get back” at the enemy for what he had done. I remember feeling like nothing else mattered other than staying in Iraq and being in battle so that I could play my part in winning the war against terror.

That was then, when I did not know God. That was when I was so filled with anger and hate that I was blind to God’s love. That was when I felt justified to feel the way I did. That was then…

But this is now. “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 Jn. 4:16). In the beginning was a quote from Jesus that stated “…in the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). If God is love and Jesus is God, and Jesus has overcome the world, then where is all of the love? Jesus died so that we could be reconciled in Him and be made a new creation. It is through Him that we are no longer slaves of the world but are ambassadors for His sake (2 Cor. 5:17-20). Does this mean that anger does not creep in from time to time, or fear, or hate even? Of course not! Satan wants us to turn from God and to help him advance his own kingdom and he is sneaky. He attacks us in ways that make us feel justified in our actions or in the way we feel. When things hit close to home they take on a different meaning, but “God is love, and whoever abide in love abides in God, and God abides in him (1 Jn. 4:16)”.

So where are you at today? Are you choosing to follow God or to follow Satan? Is it time to consecrate yourself so that God can do a work in you? Have you thought about praying and fasting in response to the troubles that you see and endure? What will it take for you to find the love beneath the hate, or anger, or fear? “Whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the Day of Judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear (1 Jn. 4:17-18).

The good news is that we all have a choice because through Jesus Christ we have been given a way to be made new and to be made one with God. We have a choice to turn to a God that loves us and cares enough for us to walk with us daily and guide us through life, if only we listen. The good news is that through the power of Jesus Christ the world and its ways have been overcome, but it requires calling on His name and His name only.

Father my heart grieves for the world. There is so much hate and violence that at times it seems insurmountable, but I have confidence in you God that you know what you are doing. I have confidence in knowing that though I may struggle and will be persecuted that it is all for your glory. I praise you in all of your might and your wisdom. You have overcome the world, but instead of condemning all of us that did not yet know you you have given us time to come to know you and to share you with others. God, fill my heart with overflowing love so that all fear and all hatred is completely removed from me. Give me the courage to take a stand against Satan and the evil that surrounds him and share your love with the world. I want more of you God! Guide me in my path to righteousness so that I may be humbled and made weak as to exalt you in all of your glory. Humble me so that people see only you in me and nothing of myself. Thank you Daddy for being there and gently guiding me along the path leading home to you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

If this was helpful or encouraging to you please feel free to share it with others. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to make a comment. We all have a purpose and can be used to help others draw closer to God. God bless you in your journey to knowing Him deeper than before and accepting yourself with all of the qualities that God desires for you to have.

Don’t be a hurdle to others knowing Christ

Recently I posted about what life is like for the unsaved and the burdens in their life that they carry to include the burden of trying to enter into the church. Last night at group this discussion was brought up again, specifically about the hurdles that Satan places in the paths of people when they are trying to reach the Lord. We, as Christians, must never forget that Satan wants nothing more than to have people follow him and worship him. As a result of this desire he does everything that he can to keep people from God whether it is by keeping them busy, scared, indifferent, or otherwise. I posed the question last night in which I wondered if there was ever a point where people are so far that they no longer hear the voice of God telling them to turn around. Reflecting back we were able to conclude, at least in our own lives, that we were always at least mildly aware of God speaking to us whether we recognized the voice of our Father at that time or not.

Another point of interest was the thought of fear or rejection that seemed to be a common feeling. Fear and rejection can come in many different forms. They can come in the form of thoughts and disillusionment and unfortunately some are actually done by the church body while others yet come from the world who is telling us that we are not enough. As human beings we have a funny way of trying to justify ourselves by comparing ourselves to other people either by condemning others or by condemning ourselves. Often times we look at the sin in our own lives and then compare it to someone who has more sin and we are happy that we are where we are at. This can be and is often times used as an excuse not to change. Other times we look to others and the lack of apparent sin in their lives and we become envious or we have feelings that we will never be good enough because there is no way that we could ever be as good as that person. Luckily for us “good enough” has never been a requirement, for we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and as Christians we have been justified by the redemptive work of Jesus Christ who shed His blood to pay for our sins (Romans 3:24-25).

Sin is sin no matter how big. Certain sins seem to be greater than others such as murder, but sin separates us from God no matter how great of sin we view it as. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death.” It does not specify death as being confined to those who murder, commit adultery, steal, or even curse. Paul simply says that the wages of sin is death and it includes all sin from the smallest to the largest. So the next time that you start comparing yourself to someone else remember that we all fall short, the only difference is whether or not we repent of our sins and ask for forgiveness from our Father.

Father we thank you for the redemptive work of Christ who paid for our sins even though we did not and do not deserve it. Forgive us for our sins. Forgive us for the apparent sins that we commit as well as the sins that are hidden away that only you know about. Lord we give you our lives and submit to you fully. Teach us to be fully obedient and teach us to love all those around us rather than judge them and condemn them. Teach us to see others just as you do. Thank you for your love and compassion towards us even though we still fall short. In Jesus’ name. Amen.