I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have perfect peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] John 16:33 Amp
Tribulations, trials, distresses, frustrations! Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Yet it sounds a lot like my life and the lives of most everyone I know. So much of our culture (and even some Christians) tells us that if we are having problems, it's due to some sin or some action of ours, a bad decision, etc. or it's an attack of the devil. That may be true, but more often than not, it's just that this world is fallen, it's getting worse, and we are in the middle of it.
Listen to what the Apostle Paul endured: Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 2 Corinthians 11 (NIV)
Have any of you suffered these things recently? Yet, Paul later said this:
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:7
Light and momentary? Give me a break. This guy suffered more for Jesus than anyone I know or have heard of. He later was sawed in half by the Romans. I shudder just thinking of what that must have felt like. He gave up everything, his entire life, considering it all rubbish. How could he do that?
I think it was because of what Jesus said in the first Scripture above. You see Jesus told them this while he was on his way to the Garden of Gesthemene. In just a few short hours, He would be arrested. He knew all that He was going to suffer, yet He considered it all joy and told His disciples to be of good cheer, to take heart, to have courage, to be brave, confident, unmoved. Why? Because He was on His way to win the victory for them and for all who would believe in Him. He was headed into the battle field to fight our enemy for us.
What is the victory? The enemy has been defeated. The relationship between God and man that was severed by sin has been reestablished. Eden has been restored. And we are now adopted into God's family as His princes and princesses. And someday soon, in the blink of an eye, we will be in a paradise much like Eden with God forever.
Until then, we will have troubles here. But they are light and momentary when compared to the eternal wonders that await us. No matter what you're facing this week, I hope you can take cheer in that!