Youth News - September 2009
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"In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."

- Jesus (John 16.33)

One promise that we have in the Scriptures that is hard for us to swallow is this promise that we will have tribulation. Wouldn't it be nice if all of life were comfortable, and that we could enjoy the comforts of this life without any threat of pain and suffering at all?

C.S. Lewis once said that "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." And what if it was in our pain that we would actually hear God's voice most clearly? What if we would listen to Him, seek Him, and understand Him in ways that we've never had or ever would if it were not for the pains and struggles of this life? And if God were shouting through this megaphone of pain - in all of our trials and struggles - what message would He be shouting?

I am not in any way suggesting that we trivialize or make light of the pain and suffering in our personal lives and in this world. Jesus said "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5.4)." I believe that it is indeed a mystery why people suffer and why our Good and Loving Creator allows certain things in our lives and in this world to happen.

But I do know this, that God is working all things - the good and the bad, the joyful and the painful - all things together for good to those that love Him, to those that are called according to His purpose (see Romans 8.28).

We may never know why things happen in the strictest sense, but we may see God's glory and majesty in the midst of pain; knowing and trusting that He is up to something good along the way, even in our sufferings.

To that end, we can press on and take heart, resting in the second part of that promise, that Jesus has overcome the world. As a people who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ, we belong to a kingdom that He is in the process of ushering in! A kingdom where "The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them (Matthew 11.5)."The Apostle John wrote about a future coming day in the kingdom of God:

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." - Revelation 21.1-5a

This is the kingdom that Jesus is ushering in! May we listen to the Lord's voice who calls us to follow Him, and seek to know the next step He is calling us to, even in the midst of pain. May we trust in the grace of God - which Jesus made available for us at the cross and through His resurrection - to lead us all the way to that future coming day in the kingdom of God!

Grace and Peace from Him to you,
Matt

 
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