After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.
- Acts 14:21-22
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I think when we get to heaven, we will see things differently. I think we will discover that the things we saw as good weren't as good as we thought they were. And I think some things that we thought were bad actually will be seen in a new light.
We tend to think of prosperity and success always as good things. For some people they can be, if they are used for God's glory. But quite honestly, for others, these things can be a great distraction and cause them to forget God.
In addition, we think of sickness or loss or failure as always bad. And they can be bad. Very bad. But they also can be good, because these things can cause a person to cling to God and to lean on the Lord like they never would have otherwise, if things had been better. So in reality, from heaven's perspective, a so-called bad thing actually can be a good thing.
When his friend Lazarus was sick, Jesus delayed going to see him in Bethany. John 11:5–6 tells us, "So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days."
Because Jesus loved them, He stayed where He was. Instead of running to them, as they hoped He would, He stayed away. Why? Jesus delayed His arrival so He could bring greater glory to His name.
Jesus allowed this for a greater good. And it all comes down to what the definition of good is. They wanted a healing, but Jesus wanted a resurrection.
I think the whys of our suffering will be revealed in time. But until that day, we need to know that through much tribulation, we will enter the kingdom of God.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000
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