The reality of life is suffering. Natural disasters, famines, wars, diseases, poverty, death, crime, poverty. We are surrounded by brokenness. This does not change when we become Christians. In fact, the tribulation intensifies. Unfortunately, American Christianity has been assaulted with the Prosperity Gospel by such false teachers as as Joel Osteen and TD Jakes. This is the non-biblical teaching that if you “believe” in Jesus he will be your genie in the bottle and grant you your American Dream.
But this is not reality. Just ask Job whose children were killed by a building falling on them and crushing them. Just ask Elijah while he was running for his life from Jezebel. Just ask Jeremiah as he languished in prison. Just ask Peter as he hung upside down on a cross. Just ask Paul who was stoned, beaten and had his head cut off. Just ask William Tyndal who was strangled and his corpse burnt for his devotion to the Word of God.
This is what I love about Jesus, he was a straight shooter. He flat out told his disciples to expect hard times. He taught the exact opposite of the lies of Joel Osteen. He told the truth. Why? Because he is truth incarnate.
But this is not the only reason I love Jesus, not only does he tell it like it is, but he gives us what we need to deal with the trials...and he gives it to us before storm hits.
In John 16 Jesus is spending his last few hours with the disciples before he is arrested and led of to be murdered. In those hours he teaches some of he most beautiful truths in scripture. Why does he does this? Jesus tells us why, “I have I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.”
Jesus is equipping his followers to deal with the upcoming tragedies. He is not their genie in the bottle, he is their God who holds the Universe together by the Word of his power (Hebrews 1:3). It is the words of Christ that will get the disciples through the hard times.
These words are not only for the disciples, they are for us. For in this world we will have tribulation. It is a fact. But Christ has spoken to us in these last days deep and wondrous words of joy filled hope. Therefore, before tragedy strikes we must have upper room moments with Christ. We must pull our chairs close and hang on every word that comes from the mouth of our God, so that in the midst of of the storms we will find the peace of God. The peace that surpasses understanding. A peace that can only be provided by the Prince of Peace.
So do not wait until all the world gives way. Equip yourself now. Soak in the words of God so that when Satan asks to sift you like wheat you will find solid ground on the rock of God's Word.