Tribulation – Trouble or affliction of any kind. “As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away” (Matthew 13:20-21).
Tribulation – The penal sufferings that shall overtake the wicked. “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be… Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Matthew 24:21,29).
(Easton’s Bible Dictionary)
Tribulation is that time of testing that people look upon and shudder. No one wants trouble or affliction to make its way to our doorstep. No one looks forward to the sufferings that the final tribulations will bring. Will our faith sustain us? Will we be ready? “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).
Though this sounds terrifying, it need not be for Christians. God has made provision for the faithful to survive tribulation both in this time and in the times to come. He has put His Hedge of security around the faithful and has promised them His protection.
“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1).
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Tribulation affects every human life, the result of the sin we ushered in when we decided we wanted to be our own gods. The more we try to live our lives free from the direction that God has promised us, the more we are apt to fall for the devil’s schemes to draw us into the depths of anger, sorrow and trial.
God knew how our sinful nature would challenge us from the very beginning, so from the first day of creation, He set out a plan of salvation for all who would place their trust in Him despite the tribulations they would be forced to endure.
First He gave us His Word to assure us of many things. There we find the words of a godly love and the promises of everlasting life where the tribulations of our fallen world will no longer be present, where sorrow, anger and deception cease.
Next we read of a God who will never abandon us in any form of trial, but will remain steadfast with us to the end, never tiring of bringing us back to Him, forever loyal to the ones He loves.
We hear of the faithful who faced their own forms of tribulation. Despite the dangers and the threats, they endured to bring the Good News to as many people as they could reach. Their faithfulness continues to inspire those who follow them to hold the same faith that ultimately saves us.
Finally, it tells the story of God’s own Son who lived and died so that we might be saved from all the troubles and afflictions of the world. It enlightens us with the testimony of the only one who could have saved us from the tribulations we have laid upon ourselves. It narrates how we might pass from this world of sorrows to our next life of forever bliss.
Yes, tribulations will come for all of us in this world. Because of the curse that has been put upon us by our own choosing, they are too great to avoid. But this life of tribulation and even the tribulation of tribulations that is to come is no match for the love of God in Christ Jesus.
Because of Christ, our tribulations are simply momentary trials on the way to heaven. To overcome those trials, we have only to put our hope and trust in the one who has overcome the world. It doesn’t mean that our suffering will cease, but it does mean that we will have the knowledge of better things to come.
Put your trust in the only one who can truly help you to overcome the tribulation of this life and the tribulations to come in the coming age. He has a plan for you to be carried out in love. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, protect us from the evil one who seeks to defeat us under the tribulations of this world. Remind us always of Your holy protection as you lead us to everlasting life. Amen.