John 16:33 In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
There are many preachers that preach the perverse gospel message of ‘health and wealth’. They encourage the believer to reject any reality that yields to pain, suffering and defeat on any level. They encourage them by saying, “if you only have more faith” or “If you were to only give God a little more.” And unfortunately, there are wonderful, good-hearted Christ followers who will latch on to these sayings and will cling to them. They proclaim victory in every area of their life. Health, wealth or whatever it is they want, believing they can have it.
Yet, as many of us know, there is still trouble in the world. The world can still bring us down and cause us great pain. Cancer, sickness and disease still run rampant today. Poverty and unequal wealth distribution and starvation are still a common thing in many parts of the world. As much as we proclaim victory in the name of Jesus, there are still many problems in our world.
Jesus proclaims that we as believers will have problems and troubles in our lives. “In this world you will have trouble…” John 16:33a. Jesus might not take away all of our problems once we bend the knee to him. In fact he may bring more ‘trouble’ our way. Paul, who at one time went by the name Saul, found himself facing significantly more problems after becoming a Christ follower. He was an elite of society. He was a religious scholar and leader, a Roman citizen (which at the time was a big deal), one of the greatest among his peers. He was privileged enough and powerful enough to ask for letters to go around from city to city locking up people who dared defied him.
Yet once Saul encountered Christ, everything changed. He found God who proclaimed to Ananias “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” Acts 9:15-16 ESV. Paul would suffer. He was beaten, stoned (multiple times), even shipwrecked on his path to serving the risen Lord Jesus.
Your life, as well as my life, is to be used as instruments of God to serve God how He sees fit. This might mean, giving up great comforts in our lives. It might mean traveling to uncomfortable places. It may mean having trouble in our lives. But Christ doesn’t end there. He finishes off the verse by saying, “…But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b).
When we see the trouble in our world, we should be grieved. We should even take action to fight against the trouble, brokenness and evil of our world. But we must do so in light of the victory already won by Christ on the cross. Christ has secured for us a great and everlasting salvation. In that victory, we rest. In his overcoming of the world, we now set out to do his work, working by his side to see more come to know the truth of his victory on the cross.
When the world becomes dark and things seem to be bleak or even unbearable, we turn our eyes once again to the victory of the cross and we cry out, “Come Lord Jesus Come!”
Prayer of the Day: “Father, troubles never seem far away. But when they’re close, You’re even closer. Please help me to cling to You in trust today.”
Parkland Community Church:
We Exist to Develop People Who Love Jesus and Serve Others.