John 16:33, “I [Jesus] 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.”
I find it ironic how my last blog post was about a storm. I live in North Carolina, and we are recovering from the recent Hurricane Florence. SO. MUCH. RAIN. We are very fortunate that there was no damage to where we live and no flooding. The power was out for about three days, but that was all. Still, after Hurricane Irma last year (I was in Florida at the time and the eye went over my hometown) I was not about this hurricane. During the basically week-long storm, the most common phrase that flashed through my mind and my grumbles (yes, I was not a happy camper!) was, “When will it end?”. The week prior Florence, due to my chronic pain issue, the pain in my legs and hips began intensifying as the air pressure began to change. I was very, very uncomfortable and just could not wait for the storm to come so that it would be over.
But then Florence did show up, and Florence just decided to hang out for awhile as it turned from a hurricane into a tropical storm, into a thunderstorm, into grey and showers, into clear skies. (Again, about a week-long storm process.) The seemingly constant rain, and intensity of my pain, made me into a less than pleasant camper. Mumbling under my breath again and again, “When will it end?”.
Maybe that’s you too. Maybe it’s not a hurricane, but maybe it’s a sickness, a job loss, the death of a family member… fill in your blank. Maybe it’s just one thing piled onto another, and you feel like if one more thing goes wrong, you’re gonna break. “When will it end?”
I know I’ve been there – a lot, actually. I have had the one thing after another, after another happen to the point where I just want to be done. I’ve known the exhaustion and the long, long tunnel where I didn’t know the end. I’ve had well meaning people give me a hug and say “tomorrow will be a better day” or “things will get better soon”, and I look at them, and it takes every ounce of my being to stay calm, cool and collected. Because they don’t know what will happen. How could they? So, as a writer, I will never promise you that things will get better. I will never promise you that you’ve already had enough trouble, so you’re going to have a break from suffering. Because I can’t do that. That would be lying. But what I can tell you is better than that.
What can be better?
At the beginning of this post, I shared a verse from John 16. Jesus clearly doesn’t tell us that after one or two bad things, everything will smooth out. No! He basically promises us that we will have tribulation. We WILL have trials, hardships, suffering, pain…. But that’s not the highlight of the verse. Like an Oreo, the tribulation is sandwiched between Jesus, the Prince of Peace, and Jesus the Overcomer of the whole entire world!
Friend, please hear me. Do not loose heart, because the Savior of the world is on your side. Abiding in Christ means we have all the peace we could possibly ask for, because Jesus Himself is our peace. Drawing near to Jesus is trusting that because He has overcome the world, He is capable of handling anything that gets thrown our way. In fact, He already has. He did that at the cross….
As someone once told me, ‘life is not for the faint of heart’. Basically, at some point, things will be hard. For people like me who live in chronic pain, we automatically have something that is always hard. Friend, I am sorry. I am sorry for the storms happening right now in your life. I wish life was easier. Oh, how wonderful that sounds! But while it is not, we have to cling to the promises of God and that He IS GOOD, no matter if our circumstances do not appear that way. God is for you, His son, His daughter. He loves you with an everlasting love.
One day, Jesus will return and claim the victory, and death and pain will be no more. But as I recently heard in a sermon (shout out, Tim Rice!) ‘during this window of time where we have God’s mercy of bringing people to Himself, there is room for evil and destruction.’ (I’m paraphrasing.) But as believers, we know there IS an END, and we know that the end is when Jesus will take his rightful reign.
Oh, my friend. As believers, we have SO MUCH HOPE, because our life rests in the hands of Jesus, not in the pain, the trials, the storms.
Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!”