Last year I was having coffee with some friends and we were discussing air travel. One of my friends asked how many miles can be seen from an airplane window. One guy said at least 20 miles, another said 100. We were going back and forth until one gentleman, a retired math teacher, jumped in and said, “It depends how high you are.” We all listened intently as he wrote on a napkin the formula to solve this problem. He used basic geometry with known measurements. We did not say a word. We watched and listened for the answer. When he finished, we believed him. After all, he had the “formula!” *
God’s written word establishes the ‘formula’ for understanding who He is. As well, His word tells us why we need to be saved and how it is to be done. Tribulation is not only a futuristic calamity as spoken in Matthew 24:21. Jesus spoke of it in the Parable of the Sower, (Matt 13:21) “yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.”
When we tangle ourselves in religion and discuss the right and wrongs of our belief(s) without God’s word, other questions surely will arise: What constitutes forgiveness? Is Baptism necessary? Considering the information available to us in God’s written word, how did stealing, lying, and adultery become debatable topics? What is a white lie anyway?
In his essay, The Problem of Pain, CS Lewis wrote; “tribulation does its work in a world where human beings are ordinarily seeking, by lawful means, to avoid their own natural evil and to attain their natural good, and presupposes such a world.” Meaning, as a believer in Jesus Christ, I can plan a certain course of action for my life. If God’s word by Scripture is not applied in any plan, His trials and tribulations will surely arrive. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
In 1 Peter 1:6-9 we read, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”
With faith in Christ, we will not be led to solve an unsolvable problem. His promise is made to all mankind in God’s word. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
*Pythagorean theorem was applied. On a clear day at 32,000 FT, you can see approximately 222 miles.