Over the years of living “neck-deep” with followers of Jesus, one of the most frequent questions I have heard when people experience troubles is:
It often reflects an expectation that a believer should be exempt from the tough stuff of life.
When this broken world hurts us, the followers of Jesus are presented with an opportunity to demonstrate to a watching world, rulers and authorities in heavenly places (Ephesians 3:10), and even to ourselves, that God is our refuge, our only truly safe place, and in him we have no lack.
When Jesus said, “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) The immediate context (John 16:34) was that in Jesus’ darkest hour, the Father is present and enough.
Those who fear God have tasted something sweeter, the goodness of God. Afflictions will slay the wicked (v.21). God has the power to buy back (redeem) those same afflictions in the lives of those who belong to Him (v.19). Of course, this is the kingdom life first opened by Jesus.
Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed (v.5). We live with this unshakable confidence that when the end of this story is unveiled, we will see God has been perfectly good. As Tim Keller has said, “If we knew what God knows, we would ask exactly for what he gives.”