We are instructed in Acts 14:22b "...that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God".
Growing up in the Lord can be so very painful at times. But recently the Lord gave me some Light about this process in the book of Revelation. Traditions of men had taught me that the book of Revelation was all about future events, but I see now, it is for us to live today, it has opened up parts of the book to me like never before.
Revelation 7:13-17 came to mind:
"And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
"And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (15)Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. (16)Theyshall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.(17)For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."
What a beautiful picture of the Lord's love for us, His tender care as we are being transformed into His image. We don't have to wait until some "futuristic" date to find the fountains of living waters, or for God to wipe away our tears; this is for us now as we go through our trials and tribulations (if we are willing), picking up our cross and following Him! This is His daily care!
We are required of the Lord to pick up our cross and follow Him. Our "cross" is the instrument of our death. It comes with hard trials and tribulations meant to break our own will so HIS Will and Life can begin to reign in us. This is the Kingdom of God in our hearts, where He is King and His will reigns. Acts 14:22 says, "...and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." It is a death to "self" with its old nature being replaced with His glorious one. This is a painful process, but the Lord CARES for us (even wipes our tears, so to speak) as we go through all our trials. When we go through these rough times, whether it is physical challenges, financial needs or we suffer mistreatment by others, He uses these things to expose our heart and our old nature so we can willing surrender all our "rights", expectations and will to Him.
We may be able to outwardly control our anger or hide hurt feelings; we can cover up our disappointments or the "I didn't deserve this" feeling, but it takes the Lord to remove the old nature that produces these emotions deep in our heart. When these responses to the trials well up within us, if we would turn to the Lord and place them at His feet, turn away from them (repent), knowing that they came from our old nature and ask Him to take them away from us and replace them with His nature, He will begin to do this wonderful work in us.
No matter how many times we fail, if we continue to submit to Him in faith, we will find, little by little, these old reactions from our heart are dying out and an indescribable peace and joy will begin to well up in us like rivers of living water just as Jesus said, "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water". (John 7:38) and "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life". (John 4:14)
As we die to self, the "heat" of these battles will not have the same effect on us as they did before, His nature will begin to change all that. We will not "hunger" or "thirst"(Rev 7:16) for the ways of the world to satisfy us as they did before. As the old nature is dying, it will not be as easy for it to produce hurt feelings, anger or any other "fruit" of self. The fruit of the Spirit will become more and more evident in us as the Lord becomes the substance of our life.
I see new Light in these verses, a wonderful new Life in Christ where we: "... shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.(17)For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Revelation 7:16-17
How sweet to know that God wipes away our tears, he knows our trials and our pain and He cares!