But Take Heart
There is not a whole lot of room for interpretation in these words spoken by Jesus: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). Jesus was speaking to His disciples here about His pending death on the cross. Previous to this statement He had spent time teaching His disciples speaking in parables, often times leaving them perplexed by His words. You might even say He would beat around the bush. But not here. “In this world you WILL have trouble.” Seems pretty clear to me. BUT. TAKE. HEART. “I have overcome the world.” The classic bad news/good news scenario. Only this time, the good news is the best news any of us could ever hear.
Jesus was the only man who we have to assume that everything He did was for good reason. I believe He wanted to be certain His disciples knew they would encounter trouble. I believe He wants that to be clear to anybody who reads the scriptures. But He wanted us to know that whatever the trouble may look like that He is the answer. There is no A, B, C or all of the above. There is A and it is Jesus. The kicker is that this doesn’t mean it won’t hurt. Pain is real, but so is hope. It doesn’t mean that we will have answers to the why. But it does mean we can persevere with purpose. I love what C.S. Lewis says in The Problem of Pain, “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” He is a compassionate God. He hurts and grieves with us. He wants us to know He is near even in the darkest hour. Take Heart.
In this season we celebrate the birth of Christ. EMMANUEL, GOD WITH US. Not just the kind of with us that is behind us all the way. The kind that is with us in every hour of every day of every season. Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Emmanuel. A man of many names, all consuming and never ending. He is jealous for our love and desperate for our hearts. Every single one of them. And not just that, He actually wants us to experience life to the fullest. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” (Luke 2:10).
Jesus wasn’t a part of Mary’s plan, but HE was THE plan. To come to us a baby, to live among us perfect and blameless and to overcome the world in it’s entirety so we can spend eternity with Him. Unending, unshakable great joy. All inclusive. No exceptions. Just come. Lets be honest though. The pain we see so clearly around us each day doesn’t always spell joy. People around us are hurting at all capacities. You may be hurting. I shared previously about the struggle we have been facing. That can be hard to reconcile. But clearly the word says, take heart. I have overcome.
Rest with me in this as Christmas draws near. Look with me to the one whose word never fails. Love one another despite our differences. Seek only He who is the one true JOY. Let it sink down into your tired heart. Think about the day we on earth received our King, born to us from a virgin, presented to us in swaddles of cloth, laid in a manger, and given the name Jesus. Emmanuel, God with us. The best good news we will ever hear.