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Great Expectations?

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not
need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.
(rightly dividing the Word of God KJV)
II Timothy 2:15

There are those today who believe that we, as Believers, should be prosperous, never sick, free from the problems of the world, and treated with respect because we are “the King’s kids.” And you can certainly support that position from certain scriptures. But we must “rightly divide” His Word. There are also many scriptures that teach us that we are in the world and that troubles are just going to be a part of our lives.

Jesus gives us many promises as Believers, but in John16:33 He deviates from the “positive” promises that we love to claim. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” The Amplified Version makes that brief “promise” even more succinct:

I have told you these things that in Me you may have perfect peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation, trials, distress and frustration, but be of good cheer–take courage, be confident, certain, undaunted–for I have overcome the world. I have deprived it of power to harm, have conquered it for you.

Of course, there are those who discredit Paul as an egotistical, male chauvinist, being guilty of giving “his opinion” too often to take anything he says as “truth.” But he gives part of his testimony in I Corinthians 4: 11-13 (J.B. Phillips).

Up to this very hour we are hungry and thirsty, ill-clad, knocked about and practically homeless. We still have to work for our living by manual labor. Men curse us, but we return a blessing: they make our lives miserable, but we take it patiently. They ruin our reputations, but we go on trying to win them for God. We are the world’s rubbish, the scum of the earth, yes, up to this very day. (He ends this very personal testimony with these words). I exhort you therefore, be imitators of me (v.16).

Somehow or other, Paul had missed that section of the gospel that espouses prosperity, no suffering, and “they lived happily ever after”–and come to think about it, so had our Lord Jesus. I think His testimony would have been very similar to Paul’s.

This world is where we make the most important decision of our entire life–What will you do with Jesus? That one decision determines the path we walk on this planet called Earth, as well as in the world to come. Other than that, earth is a university, established by the Lord, where we take courses in how to live so that He may be glorified and we will be changed into His likeness (Romans 8:28-29).

The last phrases of John 16:33 from The Amplified Bible tell us how He plans to accomplish this miraculous mission. Jesus says, “Don’t fret about the trials you have here on earth–or the frustrations or tribulation. I have overcome all of those things by my death and resurrection life–which now lives in you. You don’t fight the battles, I fight them for you! You don’t suffer the persecution, I will go through that for you, too. There is nothing too great for Me to overcome. Do you believe that? So be at peace, be courageous, let Me handle all of your problems–then you can give Me the glory.”

I want you to trust Me in your times of trouble, so I can rescue you and you can give Me glory. (Psalm 50:15 TLB)

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.