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When Christian Service Encounters Trouble

“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

In today’s focus text, Jesus speaks to His disciples about what life, in His service, would be like once He had returned to the Father. “In this world you will have trouble.” He didn’t say “you might have trouble.” Jesus said, “You will have trouble.” It’s inevitable.

When you are serious about obedience to the Lord and committed to doing His work, you will encounter resistance from the enemy. It goes with the territory. Your attempts to grow as a Christian will not go unchallenged. Your willingness to serve will not be trouble-free.

Many years ago, shortly after becoming a Christian, I became involved in an outreach program called Evangelism Explosion. Once a week we were taught how to share our faith and then shared that knowledge in the homes of individuals who had visited our church.

On a night when we couldn’t find anybody at home, we headed back to the church. I was relieved because it was to have been my first time to share the entire plan of salvation by myself. However, my program trainer said there was one more name on our list, and we should try one more time.

When we arrived at the house we were greeted by a young woman who seemed to be glad we had come. She led us into her living room where we began an introductory discussion and segued into talking about “how to become a Christian.” Seated on the sofa were her twin 5-year-old boys.

Suddenly her husband entered the room, pulled a footstool in front of a TV, and plopped down in front of me with his back turned. He turned on Monday Night Football and cranked up the volume. Conversation was now made impossible by the thundering noise of a ballgame.

I looked toward my trainer for guidance. She offered nothing. I was on my own.

Then the man slammed his hand against the power button on the TV, wheeled around on his stool, and looked directly into my face.

“I know more about this than you do,” He shouted. Then he launched into a tirade of insults and accusations at Christians. As he spewed his anger, I prayed for God’s guidance.

I asked him, “Why are you so angry? What has caused you to have such animosity toward Christians?”

For a moment he said nothing, and then he told a story of something that happened to him when he was 5-years-old, the same age as his boys.

As he talked, I became aware of a very frightening presence in the room unlike anything I had ever experienced. My evangelism partner said the evil presence was so overpowering she considered running out of the house.

The man told us about a visit he had received from Satan who wanted him to be the antichrist. When he refused, Satan threw him across the room and hurt him badly. He showed us a scar on his forehead inflicted in the incident. Said he now avoided God because Satan threatened to kill his future offspring if they became Christians. The man’s problem was not anger or hatred of God and Christians…. but fear.

When I responded to his concern, scriptures came to mind I hadn’t memorized. Doctrines of the faith became crystal clear. And he listened intently. Although he was unwilling to receive Christ, he indicated he would consider visiting our church with his wife.

The following Sunday morning there was a severe rainstorm. After the morning service, I grabbed an umbrella and headed outside toward the education building. Standing before me was a man and two little boys in yellow rain coats. “We came,” he said. It was an incredible moment… an awesome demonstration of God’s work.

When you get that “I’m under attack” feeling you should remember that Jesus does not leave you without help. And He doesn’t want you to retreat. He said, “In this world you will have trouble.” Prior to those words Jesus instructed, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.” When troubles come Jesus promises “peace” in the midst of the storm. He tells us we will find that peace in Him.

Jesus ends His instruction with some powerfully encouraging words. “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” When this world is dragging you down remember that you are on the winning team. Jesus has “overcome the world.”

Keep praying, growing, and serving. The help you need is found “in Him.” When you come under attack remember: The battle has already been won.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

For more on this topic, check out this article: When You’re in Trouble

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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