“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.”
“In this world you will have trouble.” Jesus’ words proved true for His first followers and remains true today. The world hasn’t gotten any better. If anything, it has gotten worse.
True enough, technology and science have produced remarkable advances. Case in point, I’m writing this devotional on a laptop computer instead of a rock or sheet of papyrus. Something could also be said for electricity and indoor plumbing.
Jesus spoke these words as He prepared His disciples for His departure. Before Him was the cross and for His followers — persecution. Despite the devastating circumstances ahead, the Lord advised them of the hope to be found in Him with a curious declaration of victory, “I have overcome the world.”
An innocent man who was about to be crucified as a criminal saw Himself as triumphant over the evil world that sought to destroy Him. Proof again that with faith, things are not always as they seem. (Hebrews 11:1)
In fact, there is no greater example of faith in action than the work of Christ at Calvary. Death was not the end of Jesus’ ministry, but a necessary piece of the divine plan for defeating the evil one, satisfying the penalty for sin, and opening the door to eternal life for those who would follow Him in faith.
In this troubled world, Jesus promises peace in Him because He has overcome the world. Remember, the world is inherently evil and it will remain so until Jesus returns (1 John 5:19, Revelation 20:1-6).
Today’s news headlines are frightening. Threats of nuclear war, terrorism, violence, lawlessness, etc. But there’s also the trouble
that goes along with the daily grind. Debts, relationship conflicts, sickness and disease, maintaining a home, caring for your family, and keeping up with a busy schedule.
Ben Franklin was only partially correct when he said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” He left out TROUBLES.
Now, that’s not cause for discouragement or depression, because Jesus also told us what to do about our problems. In Him there is peace.
Last night it rained. The thunder and lightning are gone, but the rain continues even now as I write this. But I am blessed to live in a place of safety and shelter from the storm.
I recall an expression once popular with the old folks when I was growing up. “He ain’t got the sense to come out of the rain.” It was used to describe somebody who did something stupid. Well, what about Christians who face troubles without taking shelter in the peace of the Lord? Isn’t that, well, stupid?
Whenever trouble arises in any of its many forms, think of it as an internal spiritual alarm that calls you to prayer. Just as the clock beside your bed signals you to start your day, view the first signs of trouble as your wake-up call to pray. Seek the Lord’s help instantly. Don’t put it off until your next scheduled prayer time or when it’s more convenient. Come out of the rain and benefit from the Lord’s peace. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate prayer of many words, just a simple and quick prayer for the need of the moment.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18
This world of troubles is no respecter of persons. Just as you remain spiritually alert to your concerns — also be ready to respond to the plight of others.
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September)