In Seasons of Tribulation and Trouble
Life can be troublesome, overwhelming, and lonely. But we are not left in a hopeless state. Jesus Christ gives us two promises in John 16:33.
Author’s note: I serve with our church’s intercessory prayer group. Recently, we’ve seen an influx of prayer requests - serious illnesses, relational issues, and loneliness are on the rise. Below is a message I sent to our church staff to encourage them and remind us all of two very important promises in Scripture. I pray you benefit and share far and wide to encourage others.
We all face seasons of trouble.
That is the reality of living in a world impacted and shaped by the Fall. Trouble, pain, loss, grief, hurt, and broken relationships are the unfortunate results of sin - Adam’s sin, your sin, my sin, and the sin that infects the world.
As such, life can be troublesome, overwhelming, and lonely. But we are not left in a hopeless state. Jesus Christ gives us two promises in John 16:33:
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 (ESV)
JB Phillips NT Paraphrase: "I have told you all this so that you may find your peace in me. You will find trouble in the world—but, never lose heart, I have conquered the world!”
Promise 1: We will experience Trouble (tribulation) in this world... (This is true - just look around)
Promise 2: Jesus has Overcome (conquered) the world... (This is also true - He is risen!)
Two things can be true at the same time. The former is temporarily true, the latter is eternally true.
Note: Jesus doesn't say he will overcome the world. He has already overcome the world (it’s done). We don't lose heart in the midst of troubles, we have His peace! So, take heart.
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Reorienting our hearts:
Therefore, I must reorient my heart around the truth of what Christ is saying rather than allowing my emotions to rule. Our disordered emotions and affections make for cruel masters. Instead, we acknowledge our emotions and affections are gifts (not guides) from God. They must be properly ordered under the Lordship of Christ and brought in line with His Word through obedience.
Opportunities (gifts) in times of trouble:
This is an opportunity to grow in faith by trusting God.
This is an opportunity to lean on your support system of brothers and sisters (Do you have a support system?)
This is an opportunity to pray.
This is an opportunity to Commemorate what God has done, Celebrate what God is doing, and Commit to what God will do tomorrow.
This is an opportunity to clarify what's truly important.
This is an opportunity to serve and be served by others (receiving both as gifts)
This is an opportunity to abide in Christ and produce spiritual fruit (see John 15).
When troubles and fear arise, our Heavenly Father whispers, "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32).
Perhaps, this will help us all see our troubles in light of the Good News (the Gospel of the Kingdom). He is Risen, thus, He has overcome the troubles of this life. He is Risen is the center of total reality. That is THE TRUTH.
Therefore, take heart, dear Pilgrim on your journey.
Photo Taken by Lance Cashion of sculpture with water feature at Southwest Christian School (Inscription: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration)