Life as a follower of Christ is not devoid of struggles. In fact, Jesus told His followers, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). Sometimes those troubles come as tragic, life-altering tragedies. Other times they might simply be disappointments that present themselves unexpectedly in the middle of a day. But wherever they fall along that spectrum, struggles and difficulties in life should not surprise us.
You may be going through your day rolling along and feeling like things are going well, when all of the sudden, something comes to your attention that puts a bump in your road. No matter the impact of that bump, Jesus has something to say to you at that point.
Jesus followed the statement mentioned earlier about having trouble in this world with an encouragement. In fact, He really gave us the ultimate bedrock upon which to rest in times of trouble. He said, “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
You see, Jesus has already achieved victory over this world – over sin and death – by His death in our place and His resurrection from the dead. There is nothing that can undo what He has accomplished, and there is no power greater than His. He is the victor.
So, no matter what we face in life, we can have confidence in knowing that Jesus already stands victorious and ready to help us. He is the One who walks beside us, the One who goes before us, and the One who carries us when we cannot go on. He has already overcome!
And, since He has overcome, we too can be overcomers. Now, I am not saying that we will not feel the effects of our difficult circumstances. There will certainly be pain and tears and anguish in this life. But when we look to Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith, we can have peace in the present, and we can have hope for the future. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace” (John 16:33).
Paul wrote to the church in Philippi with a similar encouragement. He said, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
The peace of God is unexplainable, but it can cover our hearts and minds in the midst of whatever hardships we face. We can actually experience peace as we face daily disappointments or even as we grieve the monumental losses we may face in life.
We do not grieve as those who have no hope (I Thessalonians 4:13). We know that God is sovereignly in control of all things and that He holds the future. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen in temporary, but what is unseen in eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
If we consider Jesus’ earthly life and ministry, we see that He experienced difficult emotions: anger as He encountered those who abused their power, sadness as He stood at the tomb of Lazarus, and anguish as He prayed on the Mount of Olives just prior to His death. Since He lived a perfect life, we can know that experiencing such emotions is not sinful. But we must also be careful to live like Jesus in our response to such difficulties. In the midst of life’s troubles, Jesus encouraged His followers to be at peace and to be hopeful.
So, as you face disappointments, troubles, hardships, and even tragedies, “may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13). Be at peace. Have hope. Jesus has overcome this world.