Refreshing Tribulations

It’s Easter evening, and even for me the joy I had found in the dawn is fading. The media have returned to their lectern and the assault on President Trump has begun afresh. It was an easy detour for them but a difficult one for me. I know they hate Christianity even more than this president, but I think they find it easier to hate the messenger than the message. They always take the easy path. You may ask, what do I mean by saying the president is the messenger? Certainly he is no preacher, and no specimen of saintly behavior. But yes, I do believe he is “a” messenger from God. First he is our president, and only God puts people in power over the nations. But Trump is doing more than just ruling. Today for example Trump declared he was going to watch Pastor Jefferess of the First Baptist Church of Dallas online. I suspect a few million people tuned in to hear the pastor’s personalized message to President Trump, and if they watched the whole service they got a full throated presentation of the gospel. To my knowledge this has never happened before. And just think about how many media haters tuned in to write about it! If none came to faith and only the believers were blessed, at least those will have no excuse when they stand before God! So yes, President Trump was a messenger today in an odd sort of way!

But the main point of my writing tonight is not about the president, it is about tribulations. To start, we could say this pandemic, like all pandemics, will never cease to happen. Oh joy, right! But I suspect they, like so many personal trials, are a necessary element in our redemption. In fact, if we are not fools, we must anticipate that such tribulations will not cease “until God sees the world to be redeemed or no further redeemable.” (C.S. Lewis).

But here is the catch, and I did not think this up myself, but I believe it strongly. A Christian cannot trust in anything or anyone who promises changes in our economic, political, or scientific system, and believe heaven on earth will follow! What’s funny is that although we know this by nature it still does not discourage us from voicing all sorts of opinions on how and who we need to fix all the bad things in this world. You know what I mean. They say, “Obama would be better than Trump at this, but certainly Trump is smarter than Biden. And that Fauci character is not who we need right now!” The truth is all the vigorous attempts to remove this present tribulation are absurd. When the world is fixed and when somebody or some party takes credit other miseries will take its place. (I am not saying that fixing this problem is not desirable.)

Think about it this way, we seek healing in times like these knowing that when it is over we will return to the ordinary ups and downs of life. And every now and then the extraordinary thing happens to get our attention. I say this to remind you that the vaccine is not to be mistaken for the magical potion called faith!

Living in the natural world with or without faith is never easy. We can look for happiness and security, and we should, but we must realize it will never be like heaven. In the light of day, if your eyes are even barely open, we wander about seeing pain and tribulation all around us

No matter what you call it, Chicago or Montana, there is little truly “good” about living in paradise. And if we are so lucky, we may from time to time stumble upon joy, but who is ever safe and secure? Look, I like everyone, maybe even more, enjoy a beautiful mountain range, a cello concerto, seeing old friends on a road trip, or meeting new friends over a cold glass of beer. Even a good football game can make my heart pump harder. But I do not let these joys become obstacles, yes obstacles they can be. They can, if we are not careful, obstruct our view of God’s blessings. My true home is in God’s hands, not in how or where he blesses me. And a blessed destiny is His wish for me if I let Him lead.

So I must remember God refreshes after the tribulations and we must never make the problem worse by vague talk about unimaginable human miseries. In other words, stop listening to the “scientists, politicians, and media.” Remember scientists can only get tomorrows weather forecast right less than half the time. Politicians lie most of the time and the media are biased. Our surrender and obedience to Christ are not scientific, political, or media issues. Only here, living in the will of God will heaven on earth be almost found; in the loving arms of Christ we abide till he comes or we are called into His presence. Tribulations are not so bad if they take us here!

Happy Easter!

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