Luke 21 – Prepare for tough times

 

Helen Keller once said; “We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world.”  True also with the Christian is this; we cannot grow into maturity without trials and testing. For without testing, nothing is proven; not a soldier without war, an athlete without a competition, or faith without a trial. Helen Keller would go on to say that “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” Helen Keller was blind and deaf.

Luke chapter 21 is a chapter which reminds the Christian that this life will have problems. It starts out with the poor widow that gave all she had to the church, and ends with an admonition to stay awake and be watchful at all times, praying for the strength to get through what is coming. And lying directly in the middle of the chapter is the sum of the entire lesson Jesus is teaching to His disciples; He tells them that “By your endurance you will gain your lives.”

A boy, out for a walk saw a small gap appear in a cocoon. So he stopped and watched how the butterfly was trying to get out of the cocoon. It took a lot of time, the butterfly was trying very hard, and the gap was as little as before. It seemed that the power would leave the butterfly soon.

The boy decided to help the butterfly. He took a penknife and cut the cocoon. The butterfly immediately got out, but its body was weak and feeble, and the wings were barely moving.

The boy continued to watch the butterfly, thinking that now its wings would spread and its would fly. However, that did not happen.

The rest of its life the butterfly had to drag its weak body and wings that weren’t spread. It was unable to fly, because the boy did not realize that an effort to enter through the narrow gap of the cocoon was necessary for the butterfly, so that the life-giving fluid would move from the body to the butterfly’s wings and that the butterfly could fly. Life forced the butterfly to leave its shell with difficulty, so that it would become stronger and would be able to grow and develop.

Jesus would give a similar analogy when He said “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able”. Jesus didn’t make the poor widow’s life prosperous because she gave all she had. Neither did He promise to make our lives easy while on this earth. Like the human muscle, to be strengthened we must be broken down first.

Although we may not understand the struggles we go through in this life, God did give us His word to help us get through them. Tough times are necessary for the Christian if we wish to grow and mature in our walk with the LORD. Most of the greatest hymns ever written for our sake were written through tough times. What would we have to sing were it not for the struggles that those who wrote them had to endure? Tests are what make Testimonies.

A pastor once said that “God’s greatest weapons have been forged through the furnace of adversity”. Let’s learn the lesson Jesus gave His disciples in Luke 21 and get our minds off of the comforts of this life and accept the trials that come our way as the tools that will help strengthen and mature us for His useful purpose as the day of His return draws near.

“Though you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7