Stuff happens! Sometimes we are at the center of the problem with the choices we have made. Others also make choices that can cause us problems and heartache.
Philosophers enjoy a good debate on the problem of evil. I admit this can be “fun” and it has its place. Nevertheless, regardless of the cause of these problems, they are part of our life. Jesus shared some thoughts on what we will face:
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”John 16: 33 (NLT)
We “may” have peace in Christ. Here and now, regardless of what is happening too us or around us. This is a choice that we can make. We can abide, live, in Christ.
Simple? Perhaps. Easy? Not for me. Yet as I grow in faith I find that I more at peace—regardless of the difficult circumstances.
Jesus is clear that we “will” have trials and sorrows in this life. This is not “if you have tribulation”; it is “you will have many trials and sorrows”. In these trials and sorrows he tells us to “take heart”, that is, “take courage”–NASB. Why can we be courageous in the face of tribulation? Because He has overcome the world. Yes, this is a present reality. Yet is is clear that this has not been brought to completion; but it will be brought to completion at his second coming. In the mean time we can still find peace in Him.
We should not be shocked when difficulties come our way. Jesus assured of such things; but He also assured us that we can experience peace because He is with us and we are in Him and that He has indeed overcome the world.
Even while he was still experiencing difficulties St. Paul proclaims: “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.”2 Corinthians 2:14 NIV
It is through this process of us following Christ that we spread the knowledge of him. This becomes even more evident when we face difficulties. The reality is that our trust provides unparallelled opportunities to grow when we experience trials and sorrows. As we trust him more and more and experience His peace and presence we bring glory to Him and this is as a fragrance to others that cannot be ignored.
Weather we have contributed to our difficult circumstances or not, Jesus is there for and with us. He will never leave us or forsake us. We can abide in Him and find peace—here and now. We can stand assured that “he who began this good work in you will bring it to completion.”
A final thought:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 (NIV)