“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, NIV84)
Today, I take a break from the devotional study on the Gospel of Luke to address what’s heavy on my heart and mind today. I type this devotion in memory of a wonderful young man who was raised in the most amazing Christian family. But the fact remains, young men are not supposed to die! Life on this planet is rough. Sometimes things just don’t make any sense. Sometimes things get so turned upside-down that God doesn’t even make any sense. What do we do? What do we cling to?
Prior to this verse, Jesus was telling His disciples that He would soon be leaving them and going back to His heavenly dwelling. Jesus’ foreknowledge allowed him to see what His arrest and crucifixion were going to do to the disciples. Their lives were going to get turned upside-down. Nothing was going to make any sense, and their Teacher and Savior was going to be dead. Does it get any more hopeless than that? The disciples didn’t have a clue. They were oblivious to what was just about to hit them. I think this is exactly what this family that I love so much has experienced. They were sucker-punched by life. The rug was pulled out from under their feet. Their young son, brother, grandson is dead. Now what?
To this Jesus says, “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.” Hold on! Did you catch that? Jesus says that in this world we will have the rug pulled out from under our feet. It is inevitable. In this world we will get sucker-punched. In the midst of the certainty that we are going to live through troubled times, Jesus says, “Take heart!” He calls us to be encouraged. How does one find encouragement in the midst of all that misery? Listen to Him again, “I have overcome the world!” Whether it is the disciples sitting in the upper room lamenting the death of Jesus, or my friends the death of their son and brother, the fact remains that Jesus rose from the dead victoriously! He crushed the Devil’s head! He has overcome the miseries of this world. The troubles of this world do NOT get the final say. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gets the final say! And He says, “I have told you these things so that you may have peace!”
Today is a day for peace! Why? Because the pain and the misery somehow disappeared? No! If only it were that simple. Today is a day for peace, in and through the misery, because Jesus Christ bore all the brokenness of this world and has restored peace to the hearts and souls of His people. God’s last word is that today’s misery is just a second in comparison to an eternity of hope, joy, love and peace.