John 16:33b (NIV)
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Troubled? Considering Jesus' words in John 16:33 we ought not be surprised. Yet in the midst of this troubling statement there is tremendous hope.
In contemplating this verse lately it occurred to me that Jesus graced this troublesome verse with great hope that may remain uncovered with a surface reading of the text. The huge hope that has struck me profoundly as of late is this; Jesus said the trouble would be "in this world." Simply put, the trouble we may face during our sojourn is limited to here.
There awaits for us a home eternally free from trouble, pain, persecution, hopelessness, anxiety, and turmoil. Jesus has promised He will prepare a place for us, and He will keep His word! This great new creation will exist free from the effects of sin and the fall, as it has been designed to do. Remember, He is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine.
I also find much help in Jesus' followup phrase, "I have overcome the world." No we're not Jesus, but as Del's great message from a few weeks ago reminded us, Jesus comes to live in us and to empower us to live as He did. The great quandary with the hardship and trouble in this life is not why must we endure this, but rather why would He endure this, when He did not have to?
Take heart! Our great King has dealt the final blow to death and hell. He has brought restoration to those devastated by the fall. Indeed He has overcome and has, "led captivity captive and gave gifts to men." The greatest of all of these gifts given to men was the gift of Himself, that we might glorify Him by enjoying Him forever.