Truly the days we are living in are tumultuous ones. Everywhere we look, there is more opportunity than ever to want to withdraw and disengage from the world around us. Lawlessness, disease, political turmoil, natural disasters, pestilence, and the ongoing enigma associated with the pandemic known as COVID-19 continue to cause us increasing discomfort. The uproar continues as new variants form, and the debate to vaccinate continues.
There is enough misinformation without Christians camping out on their favorite Bible topics and beating each other up if you dare disagree. I am not talking about the non-negotiables such as the trinity or Godhead, Jesus-birth, death and resurrection, and His return to establish His kingdom. Original sin, Holy Spirit- gifts and fruits, baptism and Communion are also what I term non-negotiables. All followers of Christ must adhere to certain beliefs.
We may differ on the timing of specific end-time prophecies, worship styles, or how a local congregation is governed. Still, we agree on these ‘non-negotiables.’ So many focus on the bad, such as lawlessness and the rise of the Babylonian system, the one-world government, that they forget to focus on Jesus.
Comfort, Comfort My People
When John the Baptist came preaching, he declared the Kingdom of God. We seem to remember the fact that he called for repentance and changing of our minds and lifestyles. We see the Elijah aspect, and we tend to gravitate towards the negative. But John’s ministry is a ministry of comfort.
John 3:29 “He who has the bride is the bridegroom. But the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this Joy of mine is complete.” (MEV)
John was satisfied because the one whom He was waiting for was present, and He could now diminish. His work would be slowing down, and he was making room for the one he had been telling others about. Thus, John was comforted, and he offered comfort to those he ministered to. His joy was full, and he was complete and satisfied. As the days grow darker, we must carry joy wherever we go. How can we declare the kingdom and its king and His return if we are not full of His joy?
John understood his role and was full of joy because he stood intimately in the presence of the bridegroom, spiritually and physically. None of us have actually stood in the presence of Jesus unless we visited heaven, physically or He showed up physically. I have heard His voice, and I talk to Him, and I know He hears me. That alone is satisfying.
I hear all of the bad news, the politics, the vaccine discussions, murder, abortion, death, and all sorts of worldly stuff, and I keep myself in check through prayer, worship, and the Word. I am delighted when I am in His presence and His Word. That is the key to remaining at peace in these troublesome times.
The Promise of Tribulation
Jesus spoke a lot about suffering, trials, troubles, hardships, and even persecution to His disciples. Paul tells us not to let these things separate us from God’s love in Romans 8:35-39. Jesus has overcome the world according to John 16:33. That is enough to give us joy every day. We should wake up rejoicing and go to bed praising Him.
I am not there yet, but as we move along in our walk, we should learn to make rejoicing a lifestyle. Our security is in Jesus, His promises, His presence, and the victory He has already afforded us. If we believe that He died and arose and He has a place in His kingdom for us, then we must believe His promise to return and set up His kingdom and we will rule and reign with Him for 1,000 years and for eternity.
Rejoicing in suffering is difficult, especially when we are going through it. It seems like I have had a long string of trials. I never know how He will come through or what the end of that season will look like. My job is to rejoice and trust Him. That is how we turn it over to Him.
Isaiah 40 begins with those two words: comfort, comfort. We should be comforting the world around us instead of joining in the discomfort that the world seems to offer up continuously. The rest of the verse says to tell Jerusalem that her warfare has ended. Wow! We are supposed to be pointing Israel and the nations to Jesus, but we seem to be engaged with the warfare.
Warfare can be physical and spiritual. For Jerusalem, it is both, and it is some of the hardest I have ever endured. The spiritual battleground around Jerusalem is so intense because that is the number one battleground on the earth. It is the spot where Jesus will return and set up His kingdom.
That is what comforts me. Knowing that He will rule and reign from that spot, and the enemy’s time is coming to an end. That is our blessed hope. That is such a liberating thought. We have the assurance that not only has He overcome the world, but He will physically return, and we will rule with Him.
In The Meantime
As the world grows darker, we, the body of Christ, must continue to rejoice and be the light in the darkness. The Holy Spirit is the comforter, and we welcome Him in every situation we go through, and in all of the turmoil in the world. It is truly the Father’s pleasure to see us rejoicing as we anticipate the return of the King to Zion.
We must recognize the events of this world as the enemy making His greatest stand to try and prevent the return of the King. If He can keep us from being comforted or walking in victory, then He is winning. He will do anything to pull us down, including deception, fear, anxiety, and persecution. No matter what comes our way, be comforted and rejoice.
When Jesus said, ‘those that mourn will be comforted,’ another way to look at it is the lovesick for His return shall be comforted. We will fully be comforted when we see Him, but for now, let the Holy Spirit fill you with peace, comfort, and joy.