I’ve been in several virtual meetings with North Americans lately where it’s been mention how relaxed, peaceful, and optimistic I am. Now, for those of you that know me, those are almost comedic words to apply to me. I have never been relaxed or laid back. For most of my life, I’ve worn a helmet as I awaited the sky to fall upon me. After four years in the mission field, however, I’ve had to make some minor adaptations. Our family often jokes about what qualifies as “normal.” Honestly, I don’t know if we’ve experienced a normal week in our time here. We’ve had personal struggles, such as major car problems and difficulties with our children, as well as lived through civil unrest and COVID19 (which had a major impact here). Here’s just one example. My sons last three birthdays have consisted of: running a blockade to take him to the Han Solo movie (ok, by running I bribed a rebel guard to get through), standing in a line for several hours to buy basic food staples during a run on the stores, and being stuck in our incredibly warm house in quarantine. As I see it, we’ve had two choices in the face of all that. We could scream and panic, or we could have peace and faith in God and His plan for us and this wonderful country in which we serve.
Jesus’ disciples worried about a lot of things. In fact, the Gospels are full of them questioning Jesus’ teachings and decisions. They lived in constant fear of making mistakes or having some type of cataclysm befall them. To all of their worrying Jesus said the following:
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Notice that Jesus does not promise a smooth ride through life. Instead, He bluntly tells His disciples (and all of us for that matter) that they are going to experience innumerable struggles. After telling them that wonderfully upbeat bit of news He unleashes truly amazing news: But take heart; I have overcome the world. That’s the bit of news that has propelled me on my most difficult of days. Now, let me be honest: I have bad days. There have been days during my time here where I have literally cried out to God, wondering where on Earth or Heaven He must be. Yet, through it all, I keep coming back to that phrase: But take heart; I have overcome the world.
No matter what the world throws at us, we have the knowledge that Jesus has already prepared a perfect eternity for us. He did this not by clicking His fingers, but by suffering and dying in our place on the Cross. His sacrificial death overcame death for us, allowing us to have eternal life. If you want to experience peace in the midst of the craziness of this world, I wholeheartedly suggest you continually remember this verse. Jesus has overcome all things for you for all eternity. Yes, there will be giant bumps, and even some gnarly craters, along the way but the final destination is already guaranteed: eternal life in God’s perfect heaven.