Sunday, July 4, 2010

"Ye shall have Tribulation"

I begin with the scripture text, John 16:33 (King James Version):

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
When I was young, I had a misconception about being a Christian. I thought that being a Christian meant immunity; immunity from bad situations and circumstances.

I do not remember being taught in my early Christian years, that bad things will happen to people regardless of their relationship with Christ in this world. I was under the impression that once I came to Jesus, that "no weapons formed against me shall prosper, and every tongue formed against me, G-d will condemn". I felt that with my relationship with Jesus, I would get security from gunmen and armed thuggery.

While we are ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20 New International Version), Christians do not get diplomatic immunity from world events and the affliction, grief, sorrows and troubles that occur because of our existence in a fallen world, where nature sometimes fights against us. If there is one thing that JESUS promises us, it is that while we are not guaranteed peace, but we are guaranteed tribulation. Yet, we are told to face our tribulations with good cheer.

In another part of the scriptures, Peter declares that our fiery trials will be the norm. Peter declares in the King James version of the Bible:

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: (1 Peter 4:12).
Affliction, tribulation and the grief that we all experience as human beings are facts of living in our current world. This will never change until JESUS wipes away every tear from our eyes (Revelation 21:4; Revelation 7:17). We will not totally eradicate human suffering today. It is because, human suffering is a part of the consequence of the sins of Adam. Through Adam, tribulation is our necessary condition of existence. Not even Jesus's first advent eliminates this. Rather, accepting Jesus may intensify our own afflictions, seeing that we pledge allegiance to a system outside of the world's system.
Another pastor suggests that pain is G-d's megaphone to get our attention. Humanity on a whole need to experience lack and suffering, in order to recognise their need and come to G-d.