Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes – who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’
Revelation 7:13-17 (NIV)
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I happened across this verse late one night while going through a file of old worn papers. Now if you are a child of God you would know that there are no coincidences, and so I paused to really take in the words – maybe because ‘tribulation’ was truly my middle name at the time.
When a loved one is in pain …
If anyone reading this note is familiar with Alzheimer’s – a common form of dementia for which there is no cure – then you can relate to the immense pain of watching a loved one suffer from this debilitating disease.
A person affected by Alzheimer’s needs constant specialized care, something most families are unable to provide. As a result they usually have to be moved from their home into a senior citizen’s residence. You watch as they struggle to do basic things like colour between the lines, hold a pen or crayon, sign their name, lift a cup or fork to their lips; the heart in your chest hurts as you bend close to listen when they whisper – almost hesitantly – because they are desperately trying to remember the words they want to tell you; you shudder as they become aggressively violent, shouting profanity (which you never even suspected they knew, far less were able to enunciate) at you and/or their caregivers; and as the disease progresses and your loved one forgets how to chew or swallow or go to the bathroom or brush their teeth you finally release the vibrant active alert person you once knew and somehow try to embrace the stranger they have become.
… things can go from bad to worse
During the day prior to coming across this message from Revelation, I had gone to check on an unoccupied family home and its contents. Unfortunately the house had been broken into and someone had decided to take up residence. I was horrified! The afternoon evolved into inventory checks, contacting the police, waiting for forensics to dust for fingerprints, giving statements, hot flashes going wild … it was a real mess of a tribulation.
Yet life goes on
For my family, there were many many things to be sorted out yet life went on anyway. It hurt to realise that the world does not stop to give you a moment to pause or catch your breath while you deal with one crisis (hopefully before the other one comes); the globe just continues to spin on its axis, while the sun rises and sets, one day after another after another.
Are you going through a tribulation?
But are you in the middle of a “great tribulation” aka misfortune, trial, suffering, pain, ordeal, distress, difficulty or trouble? Does it seem as though no matter how hard you try, nothing is working out in your favour? Do you feel as though God has deliberately forgotten you? And isn’t it unfair that even though you are remembering to praise God and give Him thanks, life isn’t getting any better?
Remember, hope lies in the promises!
Well we all know the devil is a liar; it’s just that bit harder to remember when life is hitting us over and over again like waves crashing over a beach during a hurricane. What we have to do during those times are note and hold on to the seven promises made to all those who have made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb:
- God will shelter them
- They will not hunger
- They will not thirst
- The sun will not beat down on them (nor any scorching heat)
- The Lamb will be their shepherd
- They will be led to springs of living water
- Their tears will be wiped away
Everything’s going to be ok
What more could a girl ask for? God had it all covered then and He still does today! Best of all He’s got it covered for you as well so let’s not give up. Let’s get our praise and worship on, and show the devil we’re safe and sound under God’s massive tent – in spite of our great tribulations. So share the word if you know someone who’s struggling with life right about now, and let them know there is hope even when life looks hopeless.