Jesus promised, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). I know that’s quite negative. But it’s a promise of Jesus. I’m not making this up.
Jesus made that promise, and that promise has come true in our lives.
I wish this wasn’t true. I wish we experienced complete victory and happiness. And sometimes we do. Sometimes life goes our way and we reach our goals and our plans succeed. Glory to God! But sometimes they don’t. Sometimes no matter what we do, we can’t avoid all pain and suffering.
It’s better to know this then to be caught off guard by it. In fact, Peter, one of Jesus’ followers, said, “Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12). So, if you suffer, don’t be surprised. This isn’t out of the ordinary.
Now, if all Jesus promised was trouble, then I would probably give up on this whole Christianity business. But he didn’t just promise trouble. In the same verse where he promised trouble, Jesus commanded, “BUT take heart!” Why should we take heart? Jesus said, “I have overcome the world.”
Jesus overcame the trouble of this world by diving into the pit of hell. Then he came out alive and victorious. He stands tall with his royal scepter in his hand, calling all the shots in this world and leading our story to a perfect ending.
Jesus does NOT promise happiness, BUT he does promise eternal joy.
Jesus does NOT promise constant pleasure, BUT he does promise peace.
Jesus does NOT promise life will be easy, BUT he does promise it will be meaningful.
Knowing Jesus’ promise might change where we focus our energy. Instead of trying to avoid all pain and pursue all pleasure, let’s pursue Jesus. He is the one who gives us peace in the middle of the storm. He’s the one who gives us supernatural strength when we are at our weakest.
Let’s give up the goal of an easy life and pursue a life of meaning and purpose in Christ.
Believe both promises.
Yes, believe that we will have trouble.
But also believe that, in this moment, Jesus gives you peace.
“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” (John 16:33).
Pastor Ben Sadler has served as a full-time pastor since 2010. He began his ministry serving a Spanish-speaking congregation in Florida. Since March 2014, he has served at Goodview Trinity Church in Minnesota. He is married to Emily, and they have three children. Ben loves to spend time with his family, ride his road bike, read, write, and preach.
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