John 16:4-33; 2 Chronicles 24; Psalm 81
Have you ever noticed how much of our music revolves around our troubles? Jimmy cracks corn and no one even cares, because worse things are happening, if you listen to folk songs. We have a whole genre of music called “Blues” where no one is ever happy. And let’s not forget about country music where the guy, or the girl, leaves, the pick-up truck broke down, and the dog ran away. Someone noted that with self-driving vehicles appearing in life, we’ll soon hear songs about the pick-up truck driving away on its own. People seem to enjoy wallowing in their troubles, hoping that misery really does love company.
A lot of our humor is based on dealing with the troubles of life. Perhaps we laugh when a comedian talks about failed relationships, because most of us have been through one, or at least know someone who has. Let’s face it, the world is full of troubles and everybody has to deal with problems in life. Jesus, getting ready to die on the cross, talked to the disciples about the troubles coming so He could prepare them, but He also left them with a message of hope. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
This last discussion with Jesus was full of good news / bad news dialogue. Jesus talked about the coming of the Holy Spirit who would be with them, but He mentioned His upcoming death was necessary for that to happen. He had talked about preparing a place for the disciples, but He also talked about leaving them. The disciples weren’t understanding Jesus completely and that was a cause for disturbance. Jesus, knowing of His upcoming death, knew how the disciples would react, and so He sought to remind them often that He would always be with them. Jesus prepped His disciples for the trouble coming, and those troubles would be big. First they would see Jesus die. Then, after His resurrection and ascension, they would be scattered as the preached the gospel and ultimately face persecution because of their message of good news. (Ironic about that, right?) Jesus reminded them before the troubles came that they would have peace as they trusted in Him. His disciples could have that peace because no matter what the troubles might be, Jesus had overcome the powers of the world.
That message still rings true for Christians today. No matter what the troubles may be, Jesus has overcome them. He brought healing to people who were incurable: He overcame sickness. He fed thousands: He overcame hunger and poverty. He raised the dead: He overcome death. He stilled the storm on the sea: He overcame the weather. Whatever problem we may face, Jesus had dealt with and overcome. That doesn’t mean life is easy. That doesn’t mean we can’t ever complain. What it means is that sooner or later we can look up from our troubles and recognize God’s presence in our lives, and take heart. We can have peace in the midst of any circumstance knowing that God is in control. When we have that peace, we can find ways to minister to others going through the same circumstances. When we take heart no matter what the problem may be, we can encourage others whose strength may be failing. God blesses us so that we can bless others and not giving in to life’s problems, not getting discouraged when troubles come, showing peace in the midst of troubles are all blessings that we can use to show others the goodness, the greatness of God. Take that blessing and encourage others!
Thank You for giving me peace in the midst of the storm, Lord. No matter what problems I face, I know that You are always walking with me. Help me to use that strength to encourage others.