His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:29-33
Tribulation that is what Jesus promises His followers. The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines tribulation as distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution, also a trying experience. That is certainly what the disciples had in store for them. In fact that was what was in store for all early Christians. Being a Christian invited persecution and oppression and it was a trying experience for them. Today Christians throughout much of the world still face persecution and death because of their beliefs.
That some Christians will tell others that believing in Christ is the road to riches or health goes against what Jesus said. God never promises us an easy life. He never promises us wealth or great health. What He does promise us is that we will face tribulation. Jesus tells us we much each pick up our cross and follow Him. That journey may take us to persecution, we will certainly be opposed and we may face death because of our beliefs.
The world does not like what Jesus has to say. They do not want to give up their lifestyle in order to follow Jesus. They do not want to be told they are sinners and what they enjoy doing is sinful. The world wants to do what it wants to do and not have to face any consequences. Or if there are consequences they want someone else to bail them out. The world wants to have its cake and eat it too. The world wants short turn pleasure and is not concerned with the long term.
Jesus died on a cross, should we expect to have an easier time than Jesus? Paul asked God to remove the thorn from his side repeatedly and God told him no. Do we think we are somehow more worthy of healing than Paul? Paul and each of the twelve, with the exception of John, faced horrible deaths because of their choice to follow Jesus. Should we expect to get a pass? No, the road Jesus walked was difficult and when we follow Him we too must walk a difficult road.
Most of us will not have to endure more than scorn and ridicule but each will have to face some difficulties because we decided to follow Jesus. Some will have an easier road than others because God only gives each what they can handle but He equips each to be able to handle what we get. We never have to walk the road alone for He is always with us.
But, there is good news. Even though the world hates us, we do not need to worry because Jesus has overcome the world. The victory is already ours. We may endure some suffering in the world but our goal is not this world but eternity with God. That is a destination that will more than make up for any tribulations we will ever face here.
Have a blessed day,