Exult in Tribulation

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; ~Romans 5:2-4

Exulting in tribulation and in trials goes contrary to our nature. While we may take pleasure in enduring a difficult task because we can see the growth that we get from it or because we can see that the result of our endurance is worth it, such as going back to college as an adult, the difficult times in our lives that seem pointless to us can be demoralizing and even devastating.

God often calls us out of our comfort zones in order to accomplish His purposes both in us and in the lives of those that He has placed around us. Sometimes this can be as simple as a calling to speak to the stranger in the grocery store when we don't feel like talking to anybody. Other times it may be much more serious such as the loss of a job, house, or even the death of someone close to us. In these more serious times we often can see no purpose to the difficulties and tragedies that have befallen us and in frustration ask God why He has afflicted us. We may wonder what we have done wrong in order to deserve this.

As followers and disciples of Christ we are citizens of a Kingdom that is not of this world (John 18:36, Philippians 3:20). God does not tell us that all things will be good for those who love Him. Rather He tells us that all things will work together for good to those who love God and who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). This is an important distinction. God has a plan and a purpose for everything that happens in our lives. Sometimes we are able, after the trial has past, to see in retrospect the benefit and the good that came from it. We are not, however, promised that the good result will always be realized or recognized on this side of eternity.

God's plan and His purposes for us while we are on this earth are far more grand and far more intricate than we can comprehend. God is working out His plan with an eternal focus and, to the best of our ability, we must try to see all things, both the good and the difficult, in the light of God's eternal purposes and not in the light of our temporary and temporal  circumstances. Our time on this earth is short and fleeting. God has much for us to do as He works in us to prepare us and those He has placed around us for His return. Let us not allow ourselves to become weary in our trials but, with the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in us, rejoice through the tribulations and the trials of this life in the confidence and in the expectation of our Lord's coming.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, and the voice of the archangel and the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. ~1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

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