John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I couldn’t begin to count how many times I’ve used this verse, in conversation as well as in messages. As I have said, we would just as soon Jesus hadn’t “promised” that we would have troubles! Actually, though, this isn’t a promise so much as it is a simple statement of fact, and with that awareness, the rest of the verse is wonderfully encouraging. The first part says that He told us things so that we would have peace. Japanese uses slightly different words for inner peace and the absence of war, and here it is the word for inner peace. Some people would give anything for inner peace, but it is the free gift of God to all who will trust Him. The second encouraging thing in this verse is Jesus telling us to rejoice in spite of our troubles, because He has already won out over the world. I’m reminded of the words of a very secular song, “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”: “the blues they send to greet me won’t defeat me.” This was before the cross, yet Jesus said He had already defeated the world. I wonder if perhaps it’s recorded that way because Jesus reminded John of what he had heard as he was writing this as an old man, and that was of course many years after the cross, but that’s not particularly important for us. We know Jesus died, rose again, and 40 days later rose to the Father. That should give us great courage and joy indeed!
I have tried to communicate this truth to many people, but I must not forget to act on it myself! I, too, am subject to disappointments and frustrations, trials and anxieties. As Jude said, I need to build myself up in faith and pray in the Holy Spirit! (Jude 1:20) As Jesus said, and Peter acknowledged, His words to us are spirit and life. (John 6:63, 68) I have a lot of the Bible in my head, but it is as I get it into my heart that I walk in the inner peace God intends for me, regardless of my external circumstances. Acknowledging something as empirical fact is not the same as being assured of it in your spirit. I need to allow the Word to work into and through me more and more, not only so that I may enjoy all that God has for me, but also so that I may transmit His grace freely to those around me.
Father, thank You for the degree to which I have experienced this, and for the anticipation of walking in it more and more. It is indeed a great and glorious privilege to be a channel of Your grace to others. Keep me growing as a channel, so that Your name may be hallowed and Your kingdom come, as Your will is done in and through me for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!