Through Many Tribulations
After reading this…
Christians Crucified by Terrorists in Iraq
The following verse came to mind...
They [Paul and Barnabas] returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, [where they had been persecuted] strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” Acts: 14:21-22
Along with this quote by John Calvin...
“God doth oftentimes spare the wicked, and doth fat them with prosperity, [Yet] he is more sharp and hard toward his Children. For besides common molestations, they are oppressed peculiarly with many discommodities, and the Lord doth humble them with such exercises, keeping their flesh under correction lest it wax wanton; he awaketh them, lest they lie sleeping upon earth. Unto these are added the reproaches and slanders of the wicked; for they must be, as it were, the offscourings of the world. Their simpleness is laughed at; but they are most stung by wicked mocks and scoffs, principally against God. Last of all, the lust of the wicked breaketh out into open violence; so that they have need to strive with many tribulations, and it cannot be but that all their life shall be envied and unquiet amidst so many enemies. But this is the best comfort, and which is sufficient enough to confirm their minds, that his way (though it be hard and sharp) leadeth unto the kingdom of heaven, for we gather by this that the miseries of the godly are more happy than be all the doting dainties of delights of the world.” –John Calvin-We must strive against wickedness by proclaiming the truth of Christ, and we must do it expecting ultimate victory. But when it seems that the enemy’s stronghold on this world only seem to be getting stronger and we are beaten and bruised, we must praise the Lord that it is us who are being bruised and under the Lordship of Christ, and not the ones involved in the prevailing wickedness. For it is only by his grace that we have been brought under his banner, and His banner over us is Love.
Let the persecutions and any other kinds of troubles that war against your faith prick your heart and bruise your soul, by the grace of God you are being led into His kingdom. You must not flee from them, by neglecting your Christian duty to proclaim Christ Crucified, resurrected, and coming back to judge the living and the dead. And as the world looks on and sees us dying to the things of this world, the Lord will use it to bring spiritual birth to all those appointed to eternal life. Then we will be able to cry out with Paul, “So then death is working in us, but life in you” (2 Cor.4:12).
Do not let the death of these martyrs be in vain. Praise God for their faithfulness, and may He use it to wake us of any spiritual slumber from which we suffer. Then, when we see them in glory, we can say, death was working in you, but God used it to work life in us.
For the Glory of God,