We are entering new and difficult times. We need a greater understanding as believers in Yeshua of how to relate to trials and tribulations.
Ultimately it is God’s will for us to live in material blessing. At the end of the Bible, we see there will be no pain, no curse and no tears forever. (Revelation 21:4)
Unfortunately, human beings have a tendency to turn away from God during times of comfort and turn towards Him mainly in times of difficulty. People who do not believe seem less interested to hear about God when everything is easy, and seem more open when life is hard.
Even dedicated believers tend to be less fervent and more occupied with the things of the world and the flesh when everything is easy. When we have to deal with difficulties, we tend to lean more toward humility, purity, prayer and unity.
When there is more difficulty outwardly, there tends to be a greater movement toward spiritual things. In this mysterious way, difficult times can be a blessing. Difficult times are partly a judgment from God. This judgment is His grace to bring both unbelievers and believers closer to Himself.
God doesn’t want us to suffer. But He sees that in times of suffering there is greater spiritual advancement. We don’t measure blessing by material comfort alone but by spiritual purity. Therefore, in difficult times we need to look for the positive blessing and purpose of God. We need to recognize the sovereignty of God and His righteous judgments in the midst of trial and tribulation.
In the end times, the people of God will begin to praise God particularly around the theme that the judgments of God are righteous. That represents a significant change of attitude for most of us.
“We thank You, O God… that Your wrath has come and the time to judge the dead and to reward Your servants…” (Revelation 11:17-18)
“For Your righteous judgments have been revealed…” (Revelation 15:3)
“For Your judgments are righteous and true…” (Revelation 19:2)
When difficulties come, there is a divine side and a demonic side. There are two opposite truths going on at the same time. In the midst of the difficulty, we need to recognize and submit to the part that is from God; and then we can resist and stand against the part that is not from God.
“Submit yourselves to God; resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7, see also 1 Peter 5:6-9)
When we see difficult times in economics, in politics, in public health, we have to recognize the situation as a gracious judgment from God in order to humble us; which in turn will allow God to heal us and restore our nation.
“When I shut up the heavens and there be no rain; and when I command the locust to consume the land; and if I send a plague upon My people; and if My people upon whom My name is called will submit themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their evil ways; then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and I will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
Notice that in verse 13, the Lord takes total responsibility as the One who has caused the difficulty! The difficulty is seen as God’s judgment on sin. (It is not easy for people to see difficulties as God’s judgment for their own wrongdoing.) The purpose of the judgment is for us; it is to cause us to repent and turn back to Him.
When we do repent, God promises to heal everything. The solution to the economic situation is not economics. The solution is not with the majority of the people who do not know God. The solution lies with the community of faith. If we will repent and seek God, He will solve the outward problem.
Likewise the solution to the political situation is not politics, it is prayer. The solution to the health problem is not in the health department, it is in our turning back to Him. God’s purpose is to save sinners and purify saints. When that happens, He can easily provide the material blessings.
Daniel prophesies of tribulation in the end times and the dominion of the Antichrist for a certain period.
“And his armed forces will arise and defile the sanctuary fortress; and they will remove the daily offering and put there the abomination of desolation; and those who do evil to the covenant, he will flatter them with smooth words. Yet those who know their God will be strong and act mightily. Those who have understanding among the people will cause many to understand. Yet for many days they will fall by sword, by flame, by captivity and by plunder… And some of those who have understanding will fall, to refine them, purify them and make them white, until the time of the end…” (Daniel 11:31-33, 35)
The forces of evil will destroy almost everything. Yet during that very time many people will come to faith, and the people of God will be purified and refined. During horrible persecution they will be mighty in spirit and faith.
It is easy to have a victorious attitude when everything is comfortable. It is like watching your favorite sports team winning on television. It’s easy to watch someone else sweat and lift a heavy weight. However, the true victory involves each one of us overcoming trials and tribulations, with God’s grace. In times of blessings, we are victorious. When we have faith in the midst of difficulty, we are more than victorious.
“Who can separate us from the love of God? Can tribulation or distress … danger or sword? … Yet in all these things, by the help of Him who loves us, we are more than conquerors…” (Romans 8:35, 37)
God wants us to overcome and be victorious. He sends us through difficulties, accompanies us, instructs us, encourages us and helps us. As we hold on to the love of God in the midst of those difficulties, we are strengthened in faith, and forged like steel. In this way, we see even greater blessings during times of difficulty than in times of ease.
Let us change our attitude about times of trial and tribulation. We see the hand of God. We submit to God’s will and purpose behind the difficulty. We allow God to purify us, humble us. We hold on to His love. We show faith in the midst of trials. God will work in our hearts and then in the hearts of those around us.
“My brothers, consider it great joy, when you come into all kinds of trials, because you know that testing of your faith produces patience. And let patience have its full work, so that you may be perfect and without fault, and lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
It takes a new attitude of faith to have victory in the midst of trials and tribulations. Let us strive for that quality of faith!