July 11, 2024

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July 11, 2024

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Jonathan Brentner: Bible Prophecy Acts Like A Salve For The Wounds We Endure In This Life

Jonathan Brentner

Life is hard; one might say it’s even brutal at times.

I read about life’s afflictions in the many emails that come my way. I know that some of my friends and family members have felt the full force of life’s harshness. The afflictions and sleepless nights of my past serve as vivid reminders that life can be exceedingly painful.

But didn’t Jesus promise us an “abundant life?” Yes, He did, but He also warned that we would have trouble, or tribulation, in this life (John 16:33).

Commenting on the Lord’s words in John 10:10, John Eldredge wrote this in his book, Waking the Dead:

By all means, God intends life for you. But right now that life is opposed. It doesn’t just roll in on a tray. There is a thief. He comes to steal and kill and destroy. In other words, yes, the offer is life, but you’re going to have to fight for it because there’s any Enemy in your life with a different agenda.

There is something set against us.

We are at war.

In the midst of the battles against our determined foe, we must also take into consideration that the Lord is testing our heart and preparing us for His intended purpose. In that regard, Eldredge offers these words that may not seem reassuring at first:

The story of your life is the story of the long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be and fears it.

Jesus not only guided me safely through such “brutal” attacks against my heart, but He has also brought me to a place of ministry that reaches thousands around the world.

How? What kept me from falling off the edge? Sometimes I wonder myself, but I know what the Lord used to keep me sane at such times.

The Certainty Of Jesus’ Bodily Resurrection

When the intensity of life’s battles smacked me squarely in the face, I wanted to run far, far away from the Lord, the Church, my faith, and everyone that claimed to be a Christian. My life had fallen apart, completely, and I blamed God for it. How could He allow these things to happen to me? How?

There was something, however, that kept me tethered to my faith despite my desire to break free. It wasn’t until sometime later that I realized what it was.

My unshakable conviction that Jesus had risen bodily from the dead kept me from fleeing. Peter’s words in John 6:68 sum up why I could not leave, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). I had nowhere else to go. During my time as a young pastor, the Lord planted the certainty of His resurrection deep in my soul and that validated my faith during the darkest of times.

When the storms rage and you wonder how much longer you can keep going, remember that Jesus walked out of His tomb. The evidence is overwhelming. It’s a historical fact that His grave was empty and all attempts to explain it apart from His bodily resurrection fall far short.

If you feel that your life is in a freefall, don’t let it go beyond the bedrock of Jesus’ resurrection and how that confirms all that you read in God’s Word.

The Words Of Scripture

Imagine you are on the back of a motorcycle going down a highway at 70 MPH. Perhaps it’s a memory for some. At such times, you hold tightly to the person driving as though your life depends on it, and it probably does.

That’s how tightly we must grasp the words of Scripture during the foreboding times that come our way.

It was a slow realization for me. I remember reading Psalm 27 every morning for several weeks and later I memorized that Psalm and several other verses that spoke to my heart in the midst of my pain.

I also wrote out several verses from this Psalm, and others, on post-it notes and put them in front of me at my workstation. The Holy Spirit used these constant reminders of God’s Word to repeatedly encourage my heart.

Because the Bible is God’s Word, we can hold tightly to the words on its pages during the fiercest of storms. When you find yourself in the heat of the battle, immerse yourself in Scripture and grasp its promises. And if needed, write them on post-it notes as continual reminders.

God’s Great Love For His Children

One of my greatest failures during my past time of testing was not taking to heart God’s great love for me as His beloved child.

In my book, The Triumph of the Redeemed, I share some of the circumstances behind my long night of weeping as I sat with my back against the outside wall of the church I once pastored. At the time, it felt as though the Lord was a million miles away.

Now I know such was not the case. He was there all the time, every moment.

I remember that night every time I sing or hear [the] song, Never Once. The lyrics, “Never once did we ever walk alone. Never once did You leave us on our own.” Jesus saw all the tears and felt the pain inside me, but He knew the affliction was preparing me for a greater purpose and that someday I would thank Him for all the sorrows of my past. And I do.

If I were to go back in time and add another a post-it note to my old workstation, I would write these words in large bold letters, “GOD LOVES ME!”

At a later time, I wrote this in my journal, “Despite the rejection I feel, I still believe that the God of the universe loves me.” By that time, I had learned the significance of His great care for me.

In his book, Morning & Evening Devotions, David Jeremiah quoted A.W. Tozer with words that speak to the Lord’s sovereign watchfulness over our paths:

“To the child of God, there’s no such thing as an accident. . . . Accidents may indeed appear to befall him and misfortune stalk his way; but these evils will be so in appearance only and will seem evil only because we cannot read the secret script of God’s hidden providence.”

The Lord’s “script,” I might add, takes our failures into account as well.

The Salve Of Bible Prophecy

As a young pastor, I loved preaching on Bible prophecy. I spent several evening services going through the book of Daniel and of course, 1 Thessalonians was thoroughly covered during Sunday morning services.

But there was a problem: I still valued my earthly aspirations above my eternal expectations.

In the midst of trying circumstances, Jesus’ imminent appearing and my reign with Him during the millennium were never in my conscious thoughts. Yes, the pain might still have been severe and long-lasting.

Looking back, I wonder what might have been different if along with recognizing the Lord’s great love for me, I had spent time meditating on the joys ahead for me once Jesus came to take me home to Heaven.

In this case, I would’ve needed a post-it note with the words of 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 on it: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

My past experiences have made me all the more passionate about communicating the joyous hope we have as believers. They add fuel to fire that burns inside me to safeguard believers against teachings that deny what the Bible promises us concerning the Rapture, seven-year Tribulation, and Jesus’ thousand-year reign over the nations seated on the throne of David.

The comfort and hope of these future promises eventually brought sweet relief to me. They will most certainly do the same for other saints.

Bible prophecy acts like a salve for the wounds we endure in this life. How can I not be passionate about sharing the comfort our blessed hope brings in the midst of the pain that others inflict on us.

How is it possible for pastors to keep quiet regarding these precious comforting truths that believers so desperately need for the perilous times in which we live? How? Do they not understand how our hope acts as a salve?

Learning To Trust God’s Person Rather Than Godly Behavior

As the Lord worked in my life, I learned the importance of trusting God’s person, His character, rather than godly behavior or good works. When adversity first struck, one of the first questions inside me was this: How could God allow such things to happen to me after all my efforts to serve Him?

Yes, such thoughts spoke to my spiritual immaturity at the time.

Years later, I led a Bible study on Bible characters who messed up their lives. As I focused on King Saul, I came to realize that one of his greatest failures was also a shortcoming of mine. He trusted the sacrifice more that God Himself. (1 Samuel 13)

I don’t fully understand the relationship between God’s sovereignty and the many mistakes that I made in my past, but somehow God used them, along with my training and other experiences, to prepare me for the ministry that I have today.

Apart from my brokenness and the Lord’s spectacular deliverance in spite of myself, I wouldn’t have a writing ministry or be the author of two published books with another one on the way.

As I look back, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I trust God’s purposes in all he led me through.

Now, the post-it note that’s written on my heart is this: “God Is Good; He’s Good All the Time.”

Yes, He will allow circumstances to come into our lives. Even so, we can be certain that He loves us and is preparing us for a greater purpose both in this life and during the time when we reign with Him during the Millennium.

The Lord will keep His promises to us; He will bring us home to glory and with resurrected bodies like that of His own (1 Corinthians 15:47-55; Philippians 3:20-21).

In Heaven, we will experience joys and wonders far beyond what can now imagine. Our journey as believers ends in paradise. We have a hope that’s truly out of this world.

Jonathan Brentner is an authorwriter, and Bible Teacher with a passion for encouraging believers with a sound biblical worldview and the nearness of Jesus’ appearing.

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Jonathan Brentner

Life is hard; one might say it’s even brutal at times.

I read about life’s afflictions in the many emails that come my way. I know that some of my friends and family members have felt the full force of life’s harshness. The afflictions and sleepless nights of my past serve as vivid reminders that life can be