When trouble comes; is it the results of a fallen world, the world system, Satan, persecution, pruning, testing, or discipline/chastening?
The bible says:
1. Results of living in a fallen world; people are suffering from moral and physical problems and natural disasters from the corruption resulting from the fall after Adam and Eve’s sin. (Genesis 3:16-19; Romans 8:19-22) Romans 8: 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers.
2 The world system is a anti-God system that is opposed to the plan of God and is devoted to natural means for the creation of the universe and humans. Increasingly this world system includes parts of academia, media, entertainment, government, employers and some religious groups. The world system is referred to by John and in other places in the Bible as the “world”. John 15: 18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
3. Satan (1 Peter 5:6-10; Ephesians 6:10-18a) 1 Peter 5: 8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Ephesians 6: 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
4. Be happy in Persecution (Romans 12:14; Matthew 5:10-12) Matthew 5: 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
5. God Prunes the branches/disciples (John 15:1-8; Romans 5:3-5) John 15: 1 I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
6. Testing produces endurance and joy (James 1:2-4; Job; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10) James 1: 2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
7. Discipline/Chastening yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:5-11) Hebrews 12: 7 God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 10 …He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Disciples with troubles are comforted by God so they may comfort others.
2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Maybe the disciples appropriate response to God in times of troubles should be “what do I need to learn or change in my life”.
Henry Luke February 4, 2016