As a teen I began to read Bible verses that describe the Great Tribulation. I had never heard this term before. Then as I began to receive literature from God’s Church, I learned that the Great Tribulation is how Jesus described the worst time of global suffering—ever. It will drag humanity to the very brink of extinction.
When I first began to learn about this, I naturally was fearful about the future. The Bible describes a future time when the modern American and British-descended peoples, among other nations, will go through a time of severe testing because of their national sins.
Notice what Jesus Christ said of this 3½ year period: “If those days had not been cut short [by God from running their course], no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22 Matthew 24:22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
American King James Version×, New International Version). This verse not only shows that the Great Tribulation will be terrible, but it points to the time we are living in now as the end time. Why is this? Because only since the invention of today’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons has it been possible for mankind to utterly destroy itself.
The prophesied suffering is heartbreaking to contemplate, but God will allow it for mankind’s long-term good. God as a loving Father disciplines His disobedient children. God’s desire is for all mankind to eventually repent and become part of His family and Kingdom. God knows that sin hurts, and desires that all humanity live in peace and joy.
Years ago I was concerned about my family, church friends and yes, about me. How would any of us ever come through this 3½-year period of war, famine, disease and even national captivity? You can read part of this prophecy in Matthew 24:21 Matthew 24:21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
American King James Version×: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Also notice verse 9: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.”
But as I continued to better understand the scriptures, instead of fearing the troubled times ahead, God gave me more faith in Him. I began to realize more and more how much He loves all of God’s people and all of mankind. And I came to realize that God will protect the faithful.
Notice this in Revelation 12:13-16 Revelation 12:13-16  And when the dragon saw that he was cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
American King James Version×: “When the dragon [Satan] saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman [God’s Church] who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle [miraculous intervention], so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time [3½ years], out of the serpent’s reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth” (NIV).
This shows that God miraculously delivers His elect from destruction from Satan during the 3½-year Great Tribulation. While not all will be protected during the tribulation period (Revelation 12:17 Revelation 12:17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
American King James Version×), most of His followers will be protected by God during this time.
Revelation 3:10 Revelation 3:10Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come on all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth.
American King James Version×also addresses God’s protection during this time: “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
This shows that our lives are in God’s powerful hands. No matter when the Great Tribulation may come, we need to heed the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 24:46-47 Matthew 24:46-47  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes shall find so doing.
 Truly I say to you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
American King James Version×: “Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.” We need to live each day following our God Who loves us very much.
During good times and bad times, we know God will take our hand and watch over us. The key is to turn our lives more and more over to God and allow Him to direct our steps as found in Proverbs 3:5-8 Proverbs 3:5-8  Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding.
 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.
 Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
 It shall be health to your navel, and marrow to your bones.
American King James Version×: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones” (NIV).
So over the years, since first reading about the Great Tribulation, I have learned to put my faith in God, and He has taken my fear away and replaced it with faith in Him. I now have peace, thanks to Him.
All prophecy is ultimately a message of hope. God is in control and He is the God of love. As we turn our lives over to Him, there is nothing to fear because, as Jesus said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
For further reading, search “Bible Prophecy and You: The Great Tribulation” at ucg.org .