Walking by the Lord’s will is being prepared to face anything that comes our way with the knowledge that He will not abandon us. Such knowledge is first from our belief in Him and in who He is; He is all-powerful and He lovingly cares for us. With this we increase our knowledge through various experiences. These experiences further act as evidence to succeed in all the things we face and keep us in our initial knowledge. The Lord’s will is His commitment to us and we ought to take it for granted that we face various hurdles while performing it. Hurdles appear in many ways and many times unexpectedly. They are peoples’ abuse, hostility, blasphemy and Satan’s works to oppose our faithfulness among other things. Everyone with the will of the Lord face hurdles differently. All in all they wear us out both physically and emotionally due to the suffering caused. The Lord is aware of them all. Not one of them is greater than Him.
With the Lord on our side we will surely have peace and comfort in the midst of our hurdles. This is exactly the reason He does not abandon us and we can know it too. Living a Christian life is not all too easy as many often picture it. A true believer knows that he or she will face hurdles. The Lord never said that once we believe Him troubles will not come. Rather, He said the world and Satan will hate us and cause us suffering for choosing Him and that He will be with us in all of them. He Himself faced the hatred of men and overcame it and will also help us overcome. The apostle Paul knew full well the meaning of walking by the Lord’s will or living a Christian life. He is a fine example of one who faced various hurdles and lived through them. Luke wrote of him saying that he was “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God’” (Acts 14:22).
We learn several things from the above passage. Paul was absolutely confident that being saved by grace means we enter heaven, an acronym for the kingdom of God. He says ‘we must’ enter it indicating we have no other option. And he gives the how – through many tribulations. The point is tribulations or hurdles will come, because we must enter heaven. (Tribulations are hurdles, since they remain until removed by the power of the Lord). Through them we come to know the Lord intimately; we experience His care and His watchful eye over us. We feel absolutely safe in every situation. We learn the world’s view of truth and salvation; we understand the power of sin. Hurdles give the confidence that we do not belong to this world. So, as much as it sounds a hard saying, tribulations are for our well-being. They make us stronger for the Lord, for His purpose, the church and for people in general. We bring respite to the souls of the believers by the words we utter from tribulations. We encourage them to continue in faith so that being in it produces victory. We offer unbelievers wisdom they have never known, thus, making them wonder as to what we are.
Whether hurdles are necessary is not the issue. They will appear when we walk by the Lord’s will. The issue is what should or can we do when they come. If we try to avoid them by creating or seeking options, we bring unbearable hurt upon us; for they have come for the very purpose that we get hurt. The Lord used every hurdle Paul faced for the greater good. And each time Paul faced a hurdle he knew there will be a greater outcome to it. Therefore, they will come and the Lord has greater plans by them. If this truth is ignored, we miss the marvelous things and the wonderful intimacy of the Lord that comes our way. And, hurdles will only deepen our sorrow with no respite. So, the best way is to face them by the principle Paul discovered in the Lord. “For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself” (Rom. 14:7). Then, there is no reason to think of avoiding tribulations or trust in the seemingly powerful options. Every time Paul faced tribulation he did not give an opportunity for his thoughts and actions; he imitated Christ and fulfilled all his commitments to Him.
Tribulations are painful. But, there will be comfort and peace in those times more than at other times, because the Lord will be much nearer to us. While at our side, He imparts wisdom. It gives His thoughts, intentions and the works He plans to do. We may not understand the methods involved and we do not have to, but His nearness guarantees He is up to something. In fact, our future course for Him is laid in tribulations. We also receive the amazing reward of tribulation, i.e. the Spirit’s voice. It leads us to please God. So, Paul said, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Phil. 4:8). He did all these through the fellowship of the Spirit. Again, some of the decisions he made in his gospel endeavor are by the Spirit’s voice. The Father availed him the Spirit’s voice and to all who faced tribulations as a reward to signify His extreme nearness to them. The Spirit guides us to all the above mentioned behaviors in a timely fashion. He does not waste a single opportunity. We do not have to constantly worry of what we must do; He keeps track of them. He produces His fruit in us. As it is we do not make unwise decisions, seek seemingly glorifying works, and waste our energy and resources. Everything we do glorifies God, for our courage in facing hurdles and the manner of overcoming them acquits us.
When the apostles performed the Lord’s will in the power of the Spirit, it resulted in the following. “Cretans and Arabs– we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God” (Acts 2:11). Yet, this did not exempt them from tribulations. Many believed in the Lord through them and at the same time many persecuted them and in some cases treated them badly. But, they did not choose to turn away from hurdles. They faced them and received from the Lord the untold joy, peace and comfort. The Lord poured His strength into them and they kept leaping forward. Tribulations come when we begin our commitments or works for the Lord. We become successful through them. When we are not performing our commitments, we keep sin and Satan content. The commitment could be as normal as raising godly children, and it attracts tribulations. For this reason, raising godly children too is a hugely important commitment to the Lord.
Here are three things we can do when facing tribulations, since we must enter the kingdom of God. They keep us in good stead.
- Continue in the Lord’s principle. “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13:24). Do not give up. Tribulations will make it very difficult for us to fulfill His will. Yet, bear in mind He has overcome them all. As we trust Him, believe in who He is and strive, we succeed.
- Look forward to rejoicing with Him. “Then he said to his slaves, ‘the wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy’” (22:8). Because we responded to His call in a positive manner, He made all things ready for us.
- Listen to the Lord at all times. “Whatever He says to you, do it” (John 2:5). We should constantly pay attention to His voice from the Word. He guides to make us succeed in our commitments to Him.