It’s one of those. Yeah, you know the kind – a day where your head aches and your heart aches and your life just aches for relief. We’re all subject to those kinds of days.
And it’s when things seem to be falling apart and there are bills and sick people and laid off spouses and more questions than answers and if we draw close to the Father, we can get a measure of relief. I think sometimes He doesn’t explain our lives just so we’ll snuggle up close enough to hear His heartbeat.
When days are lonely and the work doesn’t seem to end and we feel like that old sweater in the back of the drawer, you know, the unraveling one, that we realize we need to be knit together again.
Even Jesus told us (and we act surprised when it happens) that “in this world, we will have trouble, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Wait – I don’t want some Hallmark card gospel! I need to know what this means!
That word “trouble” in its Greek definition means to crush, press, compress, squeeze, and symbolically means grievous affliction or distress, a narrowness of room. (We know this, don’t we? Those times it feels like the room and the lungs are too small.)
“Be of good cheer” literally means to exercise courage, confidence, and boldness. (Okay, that’s better.)
But the word for “overcome” means to subdue, conquer, overcome, prevail, and get the victory! (That’s what we want!)
When it feels like you’re being crushed, pressed, squeezed and under grievous affliction, you are to exercise courage, stir up confidence, and act in boldness in a way that stands in faith. That rise in faith helps us wait until the trouble has passed. With all that Jesus endured, He subdued and conquered all the evil in the world and gained the victory! And that victory? It’s the ability to receive His peace in the middle of the storm.
Our lives are supposed to look like His and while He had tough days, we will have tough days. Embrace it all and give thanks. As we embrace our life in Him, we come to know how He embraces us and sees us through every. single. thing.
But…I skipped over the first half of the verse:
These things I have spoken to you that in Me, you might have peace. -John 16:33a
Jesus’ peace, in contrast with strife, is a state of untroubled and undisturbed well-being found IN HIM and never found in the world. The same word is used in Ephesians 6:13 describing “the shoes of the Gospel of peace”. It’s protective armor!
This kind of peace doesn’t mean our emotions won’t be troubled and is not some state of unfeeling. It means there will be no trouble that can ever remove the peace He gives. The reality of the bad days is they are real and they will come, but as we focus on Him in the middle of the crappy days, the hard things, we will know that He has promised to help us through.
Ann Voskamp writes, “Let Him kneel & wash your wounded places… keep company with Jesus. Stop & feel the humming Peace of something sacred in our veins, enlarging our lungs. Even in our darkest places — look for it, feel along for it — there is the light of Christ’s graces.”
Jesus never stops praying for us standing right next to the throne of God, and His prayers are always heard. I have an affirmation in my phone that sounds every evening that reads, Being mindful of Jesus blood and His prayers for me keeps me calm and grateful. In this very moment, here, now, what do I need? Not a thing. So take a deep breath of His peace knowing that His plan for your life is active and good and nothing can separate you from His love.
Loads of grace,
From the desk by the window where the sun is behind the trees and the local deer have come to find their supper and mine is baking in the oven.
(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, July 13, 2016
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