When Paul and Barnabas spoke to young believers, the Bible tells us, “They encouraged them to continue in the faith.” How did they encourage them? “Reminding them that they must enter into the Kingdom of God through many tribulations.” Are tribulations an encouragement?
Many Christians with whom I am acquainted are in the midst of great trials. Financial issues, health problems, broken relationships, family trauma. They wonder where to find God. They ask complex questions. The standard answers no longer suffice.
Why is it ever taught that the Christian life is easy? Yes, a few isolated scripture verses, read with a modern American mindset, might imply this. But the Bible as a whole, Christianity’s deepest writings, and the experience of all who truly follow Jesus agree that the door to the Kingdom of God often leads through earthly troubles.
Paul and Barnabas had great insight. They knew that the presence of God and the support of fellow Believers can get us through any situation. The path of following Jesus does not have to be sugar coated. Christians can (in fact should) speak honestly of the walk of faith, sharing its heartaches and difficulties as well as its blessings and joys.
I’m not afraid to tell the truth and admit my struggles. And above all, I’ll do my best to be encouraged by tribulations, for through them I’ll enter the Kingdom of God.