Peace for a Troubled World
March 19, 2020
Just yesterday, I received very sad news that a longtime friend of mine had suffered from pneumonia, had slipped into a comma, and had just passed away, possibly due to COVID-19. She was a Christian. Hearing something like this, it’s not unlikely that many Christian believers would begin to wonder how is it that someone who had given her life to Christ would experience such a tragic situation. This is especially so when we see so many Scripture verses that are posted on social media these days saying that God promises to protect His people from pestilences.
Now, I don’t really intend to start analyzing or doing exegesis and hermeneutics of Bible passages that are posted on Facebook and Instagram in order to see how those verses should actually be understood. In fact, we could even go to the extent of pinning the blame on the ones who are suffering for their own distresses.
But what is clear to me at this point in time, and it is as clear as daylight, is that God is doing something that we all need to pay attention to, whether as individuals or as a global community. And that He is allowing these things to take place for ultimate reasons. Now let me just mention two:
1. God is accomplishing something big, and everything that is taking place is setting up the world to lead to a perfect ending. The thing is, we may not like what we’re going through now, and this is a big understatement. But when we do see the end of the story, the last chapter of the cosmic eschatology, only then will we be able to understand how well-crafted God’s plans are. Just consider this scenario: “And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 NASB)
God also said that He will “make all things new.” He will make “a new heaven and a new earth.” No COVID-19, no HIV, no climate change issues, no suffering. And the pain that my friend and her family may have experienced will just be a long forgotten and irrelevant memory of the past. This is where this world is headed. But God will select those who will be in the new world that He will make. And this will be people who have repented of their sins and put their faith in Jesus Christ.
2. God promised that we would go through these things. Jesus Himself said that “In this world, you will have tribulations.” This is a given situation that we cannot escape. You see, what He did “promise” us is that we will have troubles in this world. And that’s what we’re going through right now. Trouble. Tribulation. But He also said that He was giving us that forewarning so that when those times of trouble come, “in [Him] we may have peace” because He “has overcome the world” (John 16:33). And we will see the effect of Christ’s overcoming when He returns to claim His own people at which time my friend who had just passed away will rise again from the dead and will remain alive and gloriously enjoy the presence of God for all eternity. And the same will be true for all is who have put their faith in Jesus Christ and have turned away from sin. This is the real assurance that gives us peace, that despite all things that seem to go wrong in this world, God will make things right, in His time.
Friends, we may be troubled and we may be suffering now. But the assurance of a perfect ending and the peace that prevails over the storms of life can come to us if we put our faith in Jesus Christ. He is our sure hope, and He is our salvation.
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