The Word of God is contrary to what we hear so much of today about if become a Christian you’ll have joy in your life and everything’s going to be rosy and everything’s going to be so nice. And God’s going to remove all the thorns from your roses, take the stones out of your pathway, and life’s just going to be a bowl of cherries for you. May I say to you that’s not true.

God made it very clear. He said, “In the world you are going to have tribulation — trouble — but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (see John 16:33). It’s hard to be of good cheer when you’re having trouble, isn’t it? But that’s what He said. This is a promise He made to you, by the way. I hear people say, “Oh, you just ought to get the promises of God!” Yes, that’s wonderful. God’s got a lot of wonderful promises, and one of them is that in the world you’re going to have trouble.

Are you having trouble? God hasn’t deserted you. He’s doing this to fashion you. Iron is heated to a red hot heat in order to bend it and mold it, and that’s the way God has to deal with some of us. Some of us are very hard headed. I tell you, He put me flat on my back with cancer so that I could look up and for Him to be able to say, “Now, Vernon, I want you to be quiet. I don’t really have to have you. If you want to serve me you’re going to have to look to me more.”

May I say to you, friends, this idea today that something good is going to happen to you — I hope it does — but it may not. We’re going to have trouble in this world in which we live, and there’s no way of escaping that. We need to be fortified. We need, actually, to have on the whole armor of God, because there’s a battle going on and we just happen to be right in the midst of it.