We Have Victory Through Christ Jesus
Jesus tells the Apostles and to each of us plainly and truthfully, “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.” (John 16:33 KJV)
We all have ups and downs in life and no one lives a completely trouble free life. We all have good times and bad times. Of course, we all like the song that sings, “Let the good times roll!”.
You can be sure, and I mean very sure, that trouble will eventually strike your life. Now each of us will have different degrees of trouble but we all will experience it. Such times will test our faith. That is, we will see how much faith we truly have and just how much we need to rely on God. You may look at some people and think that they have it made; they do not have the problems I am facing, right? The truth is everyone has obstacles and troubles that only God knows they are dealing with. It is true that some may be experiencing more severe troubles than another person’s troubles. But many times you don’t even know the hard time they may be going through. It could be a physical ailment. It could be severe depression. Whatever it is, God will allow troubles into a person’s life and it is for a purpose. But the end result will be for your own good, even if it does not ‘feel’ like it. I emphasize the word “feel” because we need to realize that emotions can be deceptive. We should not go just by our emotions; what we need is the facts and the truth regarding bad times and bad situations we find ourselves in.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 KJV)
Why the trouble then?
You should know that whatever God purposes is always good. But good for who you may ask? I mean we don’t like the trials and bad times. Let’s face it, they are no fun at all. However, if God allows it in your life, there is a purpose He has for it and it is to:
1. Build Your Confidence And Faith In God.
As you look at your past you will see how God was with you through your trials and bad times in life.Sometimes, as you do, you will realize and see His purpose for it. Your trust in God will increase with each trial – whether you passed or failed, you have learned.
2. God Is Good. God Loves You.
What ever happens know and trust this as a fact. God gave His own Son to take on the punishment for our sins. And it was done in a very horrific way. Jesus actually became our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). The Father turned away from Jesus and Christ felt God’s presence leave.
In utter anguish Jesus, “…cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46 KJV)
Notice here that Jesus now says “My God” and not “My Father”. During His ministry He always called God, His “Father”, an endearing name, showing an intimate bond, but here Jesus calls out to “My God”. The intimate Father/Son bond was temporarily severed. All the physical pain and suffering was bad enough but then Jesus, who always had the presence of God for all eternity past, was found to be alone as his human side took on the punishment for our sins.
There is no doubt of God’s love because “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 KJV)
You see, God must also be true to His own never changing character. You see, God never changes.
“For I am the Lord, I change not…”
(Malachi 3:6 KJV)
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”
(Hebrews 13:8 KJV)
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
(James 1:17 KJV)
To put this in proper perspective, as a sinner God must punish the sinner to meet His character of 100% Justice, yet God loves us 100% and is 100% full of mercy. In order to meet the demands of His Holy perfect never ending character He became human (Jesus the Christ), lived a sinless life and Jesus took the punishment for our sin so that God’s justice would be paid.
Then in His perfect mercy, we are provided a way to accept this pardon and have a restored relationship with God. Bad things can sometimes be because God has a plan and it is for the good of you, your loved ones, or even strangers. And we may not get the answer to the question “why” all the time. Many times we find out later “why” as we look back. Other times, we will not know the full reasons until we reach Heaven.
3. If Jesus had trouble, why should we be any different?
The ultimate example is Jesus the Christ Himself. As God, He allowed Himself to become human and a little lower than the angels in rank (Psalm 8:5). Jesus became human and humbled Himself in a spectacular way. He was misunderstood.
“…He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him.” (Isaiah 53:5 KJV).
He was spit on, and mocked, as “They they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?” (Matthew 26:67-69). Jesus was whipped to the point of being bodily no longer familiar. He was nailed to a cross, stabbed in the side. Horrible stuff! The evening before all this took place Jesus, knowing what was about to happen to Him was deeply distressed.
Jesus “…Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:36-39 KJV)
Three words, “but as You will” is key to how we should look at the bad times in our life. It is okay to pray to God if there is another way..some other way, a different way where I am not going through this time of trouble, please do so. But also keep in mind what God’s plan may be and that you add “Your will be done.” Because ultimately.. that is the RIGHT WAY TO GO! God has a purpose in allowing this trouble into your life. And remember that on the third day after His death, Jesus rose from the dead and has now redeemed humankind through all that pain and trouble. Jesus cried out on the cross in a loud voice, “It Is Finished!”. What was finished? God’s purpose for His suffering and pain, that is what. God’s perfect purpose. Jesus defeated the efforts of Satan and Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father in power. He will return, take over the world wide government and rule on the Earth forever. And if Jesus had trouble as the Son of God, can we expect any different in our lives? Jesus told us ,
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” (John 13:16 KJV)
Besides, how can you truly help a person in need if you do not understand what it is really like to be in their shoes. God can use the negative experiences in your life for the good of others. It is one thing to tell someone about something but until they experience it for themselves a person cannot really understand it. For example, before I had children I heard stories about what it is like to be a parent. But until I had children of my own, I really didn’t get the whole truth and understanding about being a parent. Then I heard and generally understood but now I know that I know, that I fully Know! I am living that experience first hand. It is easy to help another new parent with their first baby or encourage them now because I really “get it” when their kid is screaming in a restaurant – while all people without kids are being judgmental about the event. I tend to encourage them “we all been there, don’t worry about it-it’s normal.” A small word and encouraging smile goes a long way! People without kids don’t truly understand it because they do not yet have children of their own.
Is It Okay To Ask God The Question ‘Why’?
It is the troubled times in our lives, some very serious or even life threatening, that we tend to ask God, the question ‘WHY’? Why did you allow this bad situation in my life? Why..Why..why?? Does God get mad at us when we do this? Let’s look at Jesus’ life again. Days before the death of Lazarus a messenger was sent to Jesus to inform Him that his close friend Lazarus was dying. You would expect Christ to go to him immediately and heal him as he did for so many others. Instead Jesus delayed on purpose,
“Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode TWO DAYS STILL in the same place where he was. Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.” (John 11:1-7 KJV)
Jesus stayed where He was for TWO MORE DAYS and then made the trip back to Judea where Lazarus and his sisters lived. We can see that Jesus had a special friendship and bond with this family so why the delay? Jesus did state the reasons why when He said “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” You can see here that God has a purpose that is about to be revealed through this painful experience the family and friends of Lazarus are going through. When Jesus arrived He was met by Martha, the sister of Lazarus.
“Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already. Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.“ (John 11:17-22 KJV)
So Jesus shows up at the families home but Lazarus had already died by the time Jesus arrives and was in the tomb four days. The Jewish custom of that day is that after four days, the person’s spirit went on and left the body. A “no turning back” point. In other words, Lazarus was 100% dead. Martha knew Jesus was the Son of God, yet her heart was so grieved she just blurted it out to Jesus “…if you had been here”. She is asking the question “why were you not here to save Lazarus your close friend?” And then she used her faith in Jesus saying “but whatever you ask God I know you can perform it!”
“Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” (John 11:23-27 KJV)
We can see that Martha has faith in Christ as she states she knows Lazarus will rise again at the resurrection in the future. Now God reveals His purpose for Lazarus’ death. Jesus is using this to show everyone that He is the Messiah. Yes Jesus did rise others from death. But never someone dead for four whole days! Something else to note here is where Jesus talked about the resurrection. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” At first glance it seems Jesus is repeating Himself but reality is He is not. He is describing two separate groups of believers resurrected..the dead in Christ and those alive and remaining at the rapture event.
“Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.” (John 11:38-44 KJV)
It was a horrible event to Lazarus, his sisters Martha and Mary and to Jesus as Lazarus was a close friend. Yet it was purposed by God to reveal to everyone that Jesus is sent from God, to show the love and resurrection power of God, and their sadness did a 180 degrees… To complete joy. And this is the event that led to the cross because after this the religious leaders sought to kill Jesus because they knew the people would start following Christ instead of them. They would start to lose their power.
It’s God’s Way In His Good Time
We must learn that God will not do everything the way you expect, or when you expect it. But you can have complete trust that the ultimate outcome will build your character, help you help others, bless you or those around you, and still meet God’s perfect Holy character while fulfilling His plan for humankind. And sometimes, we can’t see any good coming from such a horrible life event. Some end in death even. But God will use it for good. He said so.. And so it will be so. Let God be good and every man a liar. God is good! And it is alright to pour out our hearts to God and ask, or cry out, ‘WHY?!?!‘. Martha did and Jesus did not rebuke her but encouraged her faith in Him. King David did (Psalm 62:8) and he tells us to” pour out heart to God”. God called David a man after his own heart. Above all, being truthful to God and running to God will result in Him holding you, strengthening you and helping you throughout the situation. In fact, for me, it is in the midst of these life trials that I feel God’s presence with me the strongest. God tells us that when we are weak, God is strong with us.
“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” (Isaiah 40:29 KJV)
If you are in the midst of a small or humongous trial believe that God has not abandoned you. He is with you. He has a plan. Trust in Him. We will lack in faith in this at times (honestly I blew it just before writing this article. I let my emotions get too involved in my trial…that is why I wrote this!) but always come back after the emotions of it and believe what God tells us:
“The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” (Psalm 9:9 KJV)
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5 KJV)