Suffering often brings the question, "why?" and there is no greater suffering than eternal damnation. When confronted with the implications of divine election we must recognize our position before God as a created being. God's answer to our "why" question is "Because I am God."
Death came as punishment for sin. But for the Christian, we are declared righteous in Christ, so death is no longer a punishment. Instead, we have the great hope of eternal life, with glorified bodies, in the presence of Jesus our Lord. This far surpasses the joy we taste in this life. In his wisdom, God has bound up death but has not destroyed it, so as Christians we will still taste physical death. But we can do so in faith that God is in complete control, and in hope of a far better life where all of God's promises are made complete.
God's sovereign power and authority cover not only our salvation, but all of life. He made all things and keeps all things. Jude reminds us that God's sovereign power extends to his keeping us from stumbling, and bringing us to eternal joy in his presence. And not only is God able to keep us, but he desires and intends to keep us.
Suffering is an inescapable part of life in a fallen world. If we are not suffering presently, we will certainly encounter it at some point. We must prepare our hearts and minds to approach suffering with faith in God. Three anchors serve to help us hold firm in times of suffering. First, we know that God is sovereign over all things, even our suffering. Second, we know that God uses our suffering, for his own glory but also for our own good, to produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness in us. Finally, we know that God answers prayer, and we do not simply pray to endure our suffering, but we persistently appeal to him in faith to deliver us from it. God is near to us in our suffering, and desires that we would turn to him as our only refuge in suffering.
Prayer is communion with God, and God desires that we approach him as confident seekers when we pray. We are to be confident in God's presence because we come in the name of Jesus Christ, our mediator and advocate. We are confident to make requests of him because we are not simply allowed but welcomed to make requests; we should pray with the expectation that God's spirit will move and intervene. And we are to pray with confidence in God's sovereignty, knowing that not only is he in complete control of all things, but he is good and wise and loving.
In this portion of the discourse on the Mount of Olives, Jesus prophetically describes to his disciples the destruction of the temple and the events that will precede it. While these events are long past, there is clear application for us today. We must be on guard, not to be led astray by false teaching and not to fear persecution or the happenings in the world around us. Instead, we are to trust in God's sovereignty and grace and live our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit.