Jesus warned His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion that they would face tribulations in the world. Then He goes on to say that they can take courage, because He has overcome the world, so can they! A Chinese pastor said that the teaching of a pre-tribulation rapture of the church was harmful to the Chinese church. Why? Because when they did face the extreme persecution of the communists they were not prepared to suffer. May we not fall into the same mentality. In the world we will have tribulation in the form of persecutions, afflictions, sicknesses, losses, hatred, and more. Being prepared to face the many trials the world will give us is vital. The best defense is a good offense!
This little exercise (Adapted from When God Breaks Your Heart—Choosing Hope in the Midst of Faith-Shattering Circumstances. Ed Underwood) has helped me to shore up my foundation in God, who loves me, is with me, is for me, and has good plans for me that He intends to fulfill. With these convictions I can face whatever this world gives me!
Take awhile to answer these statements from your own life! (multiple examples are beneficial! :-). It will be worth the effort. (I have included some of my thoughts and insights.)
- Declare a Truth: Write down a truth about my relationship with God that has been meaningful to me in my life. (His eyes are always on me to strongly support me!)
- Memorize Scripture: Memorize a scripture that declares God’s love for me showing me that I am His special concern.
- Recall a Memory: Describe an event in my life that has shown me without a shadow of a doubt that God is there and watches over me with loving care.
See my testimony in this post Cast Your Cares on the Lord.
- Embrace Hope: Share a reason that I know whatever happens to me, God is guiding me toward His loving purposes for my life. (Even when I mess up, even when others messes hurt me).
5. Praise the Lord: Choose to spend time praising God, especially in the midst of afflictions! God says that He inhabits praise–so praise brings His presence and His presence brings joy, peace, life and victory! Take a moment to listen to this powerful song by Chris Christian–you can always praise God, because you will overcome your trials with Him!