“For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know“
For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you
Paul says he kept telling them when he was with them about the persecution to come (imperfect tense). He taught this repeatedly. Paul says, “Do you remember when I was there a year ago? I warned you of coming trouble.”
that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know
The words “suffer tribulation” refers to suffering due to the pressure of circumstances or the antagonism of others (2 Thessalonians 1:6,7). This pressure from without hems the believer in a situation like a mountain gorge. God puts conditions in our narrow way and presses us into distressing problems.
“We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair…” (2 Corinthians 4:8).
God puts us into a squeeze play. Compression produces gold, and compression produces character in the Christian life.
Christian suffering is inseparable from the Christian life. Christians face different kinds of affliction: persecution (1:6), imprisonment (Acts 20:23), derision (Hebrews 10:33), poverty (2 Corinthians 5:13), sickness (Revelation 2:22), and inner distress (Philippians 1:17; 2 Corinthians 7:5).
Tribulation tests whether we will spread the gospel at the risk of life or limb and whether we will claim the promises of God (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). Faith accepts God’s discipline and patiently endures trial (2 Thessalonians 1:4). A Christian has the assurance that the coming glory far overshadows present suffering (2 Corinthians 4:17,18). God’s promises give us hope in the face of suffering.
The mature Christian does not give up when things get tough.
It comes as a great shock to some Christians when trials come their way. Although God plans divine duress in the lives of Christians, they can have a sense of God’s presence with them through it.
Christians can have a sense of peace in the midst of trouble. We can have stability during any pressure that comes our way. Christians have the equipment to be stable at all times, in good times or bad.
The mature Christian does not give up when the going gets tough. Most people cave into trouble. They give up by resorting to booze or drugs. They cannot look pain in the face, so they use some form of escapism. They will pay the piper for this. The mature Christian, however, knows how to cope with duress.
“…rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer…” (Romans 12:12).
Mature Christians glory in tribulation because they know that it is God’s design for their lives.
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).
God gives grace to the person who knows how to draw on that grace.
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).