Read: John 16
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NLT)
I hate to be blindsided, and I am sure you do, too. Nobody likes to be caught off guard by bad news or troubling circumstances. The surprise of such experiences makes these difficulties doubly devastating.
That’s why Jesus gives us a divine heads-up in John 16. Standing at both ends of this chapter, like bookends, Jesus gave his followers an FYI on some of the challenges they would surely face. In verse one, he says, “I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith.” Then again in verse 33, the very last verse of the chapter, he reminds them of the insider information he has provided so that when it takes place, they won’t be unsettled by it.
Just what insider information did Jesus provide? Simply that your faith is going to get you into a fair amount of trouble in this life. People are not going to like you because you follow Jesus. You will be persecuted not only for the stand you personally take on moral issues, but just for the position your Christianity represents. In fact, some people will even hate you with a murderous zeal disguised as religious passion simply because of the Christian life you live (John 16:2, NLT). Without even trying, your lifestyle of faith will bring them under such conviction that they will find it intolerable and want to do away with you. Things may get a bit rough, so be ready for it, Jesus says.
The good news, however, is that you will never have to face these difficulties alone. The fact is, through Christ you will overcome each challenge victoriously, even the most extreme challenge of staring into the abyss of martyrdom. You will overcome because you know what is coming. (John 16:1,4, 33, NLT) You will be victorious because Jesus has already been victorious under these same pressures. (John 16:33) You will be able to face these situations with courage and grace because of the presence of the Divine Helper, the Holy Spirit. (John 16:7) You will win in the hour of trial because the Sovereign Father who loves you (John 16:27) will hear and answer your every prayer. (John 16:23-24)
Knowing ahead of time what is coming, and knowing that your victory has been secured already, you can go about your day, and come what may—trouble, hardship, disappointment, failure, persecution, hatred, even death—live in the wonderful reality of what Christ promised:
“In Me, you will have peace!”
“God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them.” ~C.S. Lewis
What If God Took Over?
You and I do not know what tomorrow holds, but we know Who holds tomorrow. And we know Who holds our lives in his hands. So why don’t you join me in thanking God ahead of time for His peace that will guard our hearts and ease our minds tomorrow, no matter what circumstances tomorrow may bring.