WHEN YOU FACE TRIBULATIONS

Many times we allow things that aren’t important to distract us from the real reason why we were made by making them very important. When God gives us a task, it is only our focus on that task that can truly get us going to the finishing line. Those who focus on their given task finishes strong but those who allow distraction don’t continue in the race. While distraction is a major reason people fail to fulfil a purpose, another reason people fail to fulfil a purpose is that they are walking alone and they often want to walk alone either because of how they have been treated in the past or because of how they have been betrayed.

Well, regardless of the betrayal and broken heart, aloneness is never an option. God never designed man to walk alone, Jesus never came walking alone and people who walk alone can never build and build to the finish. Of all the options you have in life, aloneness isn’t one of them. You need people as much as people need you and most importantly you need to stay hopeful. Let’s talk how to walk through the moment of tribulations. The Bible says in Proverbs 13:12:

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.”

When hope becomes crushed, the heart becomes sick, the mind becomes unmotivated and depression begins to set in. This means that at all cost, you must keep your hope alive! Dreams don’t get fulfilled when hope is crushed, it is in the presence of hope that you are motivated to keep moving, to keep running until you win! One inevitable thing in life is what you don’t wish for; tribulation! What about it? The Bible says in John 16:33

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Jesus never promised that we would live without tribulation, He never promised us a life without troubles and sorrow! But amid that trial, he said we can have peace in Him and how do we do that? It is by taking heart and standing on the reality of Christ’s victory over the world. To take heart means to be courageous! We can be courageous in the face of tribulations, they will surely come as long as we are on earth but they can’t destroy us if we lay hold on Christ’s victory over this world and its systems. If you must live for Jesus, the time will come when you just have to give up certain pleasures, friends and some good life for a greater purpose. This is the price we pay, not for the anointing or salvation but as a result of our convictions. Anyone who truly wants to follow Jesus must be ready to give up himself because, at some point, you would never be world friendly.

The beautiful thing Jesus promised us is that we can be courageous when we are faced with these things and the problems will not last forever. In the face of tribulation, what do we do? The Bible says in James 1:2

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”

There are so many kinds of troubles, they come in various shapes and sizes but it is what we see in these troubles that matter or shape our reality. When they come, the Bible says you should consider it an opportunity for great joy! As for the troubles, they will surely come in diverse manners but you must develop the attitude of joy and this joy comes from your trust in God and not from the mere satisfaction of life. When things are going fine with you, don’t laugh at those who are having troubles or try blaming them for what they are going through. Put yourself in their shoes, show empathy and do something about it. Your own time of trials would come and you may also need them!

Following Jesus comes with some degree of sacrifice, people will laugh at you on the social media, friends wouldn’t want to go places with you, some fellow Christians will mock you! At some point, you will be forced to question your stand! However, you must know that these are prices you have to pay for your convictions. The only way you can find rest in the series of tribulation is to focus on what God is saying rather than what the situation is saying. God’s word isn’t suggestive on how we should live, it is showing us the exact way to live. Living God’s way isn’t usually awesome to the flesh but it subjects our flesh to discipline! In the midst of it all, you can still enjoy God’s rest.

Christ gives us freedom but this isn’t freedom for everything but freedom from sin and death. This is where the yoke of Christ comes in! The yoke of darkness drags us downwards but the yoke of Christ leads us to destiny through the path of purpose! In Christ. The freedom Christ gives isn’t freedom for everything but freedom from sin, death and darkness. Being in Christ doesn’t mean we are entirely free from tribulations and when we go through all manner of trials, there are eternal implications. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:17

“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!”

The Bible isn’t suggesting that we might experience troubles, it is telling us that we will surely experience troubles but that we can eventually pull through knowing that they are just small compared to the eternal glory that will be produced of them. God’s salvation has nothing to do with giving us certain material things but rather about having us to himself. When the Bible says that God has given us all that pertains to life and Godliness, it wasn’t talking about money or food but about the life of God, we have received to live like Him. God has empowered us to live by His standards. The Bible says in 1 Peter 1:3

“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself using his marvellous glory and excellence.”

Do you see that? By coming to know Him, we receive all that pertains to life and godliness which He has given us. Jesus is all things that God has to give, He is that life and He is also the truth that sets us free! When Jesus promised the Disciples that they would become fishers of men, it might have sounded like a big business deal but it was more than that anyway it wasn’t about their career, it was beyond it! They had to sacrifice their awesome career, it was a trying moment for them too! No wonder Jesus told a rich man in Mark 10:22 to use all he has for eternal purpose! When Jesus asked him to sell all he had if he must follow Him, Jesus was saying “if you can’t sacrifice your pleasure, you can’t follow me!” This is why Jesus said it is hard for people who hold on to their wealth above all things to find God. People who trust their riches cannot trust God because God will, first of all, take you away from those distractions, make you let go of your trust in yourself before you can trust him.

God fought with Jacob until he came to an end of himself and received a new identity. The true meaning of godliness is coming to the end of yourself and we cannot undermine the place of contentment as believers. During tribulation times, many people tend to lose patience, they tend to seek ways outside God’s will and sometimes they even seem to pray prayers that aren’t according to God’s will. It is in times of lack that contentment is proven. Contentment is also the ability to give up certain things and not just the ability to stay without certain things. In Mark 10:28-29, Peter wondered what their fate was after they had left everything to follow Jesus and Jesus assured him that those who have left things for his sake will receive a hundredfold in the present and in the age to come.

You shouldn’t be lost in the quest of getting things! You should focus on living for Jesus, in leaving and giving things up for Him. There are a present and future reward for people who are ready to give up something. Persecutions will always be there to train you! Persecutions will purify and refine you. God leads you through various experiences and lessons in the face of tribulations. Some tribulations may teach you how to manage resources better, how to stay humble even when the world starts bowing to you and how to live in absolute contentment. Sometimes, God trains you with tribulations and in these times, your confidence is that God is with you and that He has got you covered! The Bible says in Hebrews 10:38-39

“But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”

There are times when believing God becomes so hard because of what we are feeling in the flesh and many times people shrink back when they had nearly crossed that phase of life! You truly don’t belong to those who shrink back. No matter how much your soul has suffered, Jesus is the saviour of your soul and not you, why not just trust Him? If you have given Him everything, then allow Him to do it the way He wants. You can pull through, you can stay joyful regardless of the weight of the tribulation and the Bible tells us how to keep standing!

“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honour beside God’s throne.” – Hebrews 12:2

Our eyes shouldn’t be on things, on men, on the government, on people’s promises but strictly on Jesus! He is the champion, the initiator and the one who perfects our faith! We can always look at what He did and do like Him. The Bible says He endured the cross, He disregarded the shame but now He is honoured! In the same way, we can ignore the shame that comes with the tribulations and we can ignore the mockery that comes with it. People may say God has forsaken us, they may say our God can’t save us, they may even say there isn’t any God but we shouldn’t let those things discourage us, we should stay joyful knowing that these things result in an eternal weight of glory!

God isn’t pleased when you face tribulation and decided to back down or lose hope in Him. He takes delight when you stand, He rejoices when you stand on the victory He already delivered to you! You express absolute trust in Him when you look up to Jesus and God finds it pleasing. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:6

“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”

We please God in the face of tribulations by looking up to Jesus and not to things! What is your life pursuit? When you pray, what dominates your mind? When you are in Christian gatherings, what is it that you come for? Are you seeking for an easy escape from tribulations or are you ready to keep looking and waiting on God? Are you lost in the world’s way of seeking success and pursuing vanity?

When we fix our eyes on Jesus even in the face of tribulation, we are saying “Lord, I know you are good even in hard times and I know you are working all things together for my good. Therefore, I am looking up to you because I trust you with my life.” All things truly aren’t yours to get, it is God’s give and He promised that when you seek the kingdom and its righteousness, all other things shall be added to you and Jesus promised that your father in heaven cares about your needs.

Do you know one of the ways to express confidence in your trying times? Reach out to people who need more rather than focus on your problems. Be concerned about the poor than focus on what you don’t have, contentment is shown in our ability to give others when we don’t have much. Have you forsaken everything to follow God? Then keep trusting Him! Let Him be your priority. In simple words, the best thing to do in the place of tribulation is to keep pursuing Jesus.

Blessings!

~ George O.N