The nice thing about a cold winter day is a hot stove to warm yourself by. The nice thing about a sweltering day in the hot Texas sunshine is an ice-cold watermelon. The nice thing about tribulation is a place of safety in the midst of trouble.
We are told in the books of Daniel and Matthew that there will be an unprecedented time of trouble coming upon our world before the age comes to an end. Somehow it seems fitting that there would be a climactic end to this period of time that we are living through. Even secular commentators see severe problems on the horizon. But as children of the Most High, when we consider the biblical patterns and precedents we can actually take courage and look up, because we know our redemption is drawing closer.
When people like Moses, Daniel, Job, Corrie Ten Boom, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, John Bunyan, John Wycliffe, etc. went through periods of tribulation they actually found supernatural strength to deal with their situations, and that’s why we are still reviewing their stories long after they have died. After they came through their difficulties there were willing and able to be a source of encouragement to the rest of us as we face our time of testing. While John Bunyan was in jail for his faith he wrote a book called Pilgrim’s Progress which has been a blessing to countless numbers of people. Dietrich Bonhoeffer had a similar experience as well before the Nazi’s executed him. Of course Jeremiah and the Apostle Paul wrote some famous letters while in prison as well.
I suppose the nice thing about going through the mill is that fine flour is produced. Without the milling process our refinement is incomplete. Of course there are several screening processes to go through before the grain even gets to the mill. You certainly wouldn’t want any dirt or weed seed to be ground up with the flour. Likewise some people are not found worthy to suffer shame for His name. (Acts 5:41)
Actually the upcoming time of trouble will clarify a lot of issues for us that are still being discussed and it will help us to focus in on the weightier matters of the law. A time of severe testing serves to separate the sheep from the goats. Yahvah won’t just rock the boat—He will turn the boat over and see who floats. We have had some pop quizzes but now we are heading for the final exam.
The bible prophesies a time of blood, fire and pillars of smoke, but during that time Joel refers to an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Daniel speaks of the saints doing exploits during this time of trouble. The rougher it gets the more grace Yahvah makes available for those who ask.
Throughout biblical history, every time Yahvah raised up enemies like Pharaoh, or Satan it was an excellent opportunity for Him to show Himself strong and make His name known all over world. Even at the conclusion of the 1000 year reign of the Messiah, Satan will be brought back for one last major battle. Imagine someone giving a testimony and relating that they had never experienced family problems, financial difficulties, abuse or unjust treatment of any kind. That would be strange indeed, because there could be no victories if there were no struggles.
If it is Yahvah’s plan to reveal His power and majesty to His people then he would first have to conceal His power and majesty from His people, and then gradually make Himself known as He woos us by His loving hand. So in the here and now we can prove our love by seeking, asking, knocking and responding to His voice.
Yahvah prophesied through Ezekiel that He would eventually stop hiding His face and pour out His spirit on the children of Israel. He also said that the Gentiles as well as Israel would know that He was Yahvah and that He has been directing the affairs of men. So the best thing for us to do now is to endure hardships as good soldiers and to brace ourselves for the upcoming time of testing. If we do that then we won’t be surprised at the fiery trial that is coming our way to test our faith but rather we can rejoice that we are sharing the sufferings of the Messiah, and someday we will share in His joy and glory.
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