By Holly Culhane
We have all faced times in our lives when it seems that trial and tribulation come flooding our way. Often in those moments, if we pause to seek clarity, we know that although others may not – at that moment – be suffering as we are, all of us face trouble from time to time in this earthly life.
It is in those moments that we must remember and claim the words of Jesus, as shared by His disciple, John.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.
But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Jesus, the Son of the Living God, has overcome the world.
But what does that mean for us in our day-to-day lives as we face distress and hardship, affliction and suffering, illness and grief?
It seems that E. Stanley Jones, theologian, author, and the man whom Time magazine called “the world’s greatest Christian missionary” in 1938 said it best…
“Being in Him we are in One who not merely will overcome the world, but has overcome it. That means that He has met everything which we have to face — the world of the mind, the world of the emotions, the world of the will. Not once did He cave in. If He overcame that inner world, He overcame the outer world — the world of relationships, of misunderstanding, of hate, of misrepresentation or murder. He overcame the world of group relationships — the world of small-mindedness, of bickering and jealousy, of denial and betrayal. He faced everything, and He overcame everything.
“No matter where I turn in this business called life, I face a defeated foe. I do not have to defeat the foe. I simply remain in Him Who has defeated the foe, and I accept His victory as my own. This wipes out all sense of inferiority as I begin. I’m on top in His ‘on-topness’. It saves me from a sense of pride, for I know that apart from Him I can do nothing; in Him I can do everything. I find myself a surprise to myself. I find myself doing things I can’t do, undertaking things I dare not undertake, and undergoing tests I have no right or possibility to undergo. I am calm when I ought to be agitated. I am joyous when there is nothing to be joyous about. I thrill to this business of living energized by life. I am surprised at Goethe, at seventy-five, saying of his life, ‘It has been nothing but pain and burden,’ and at Luther, when he had grown old, confessing, ‘I am utterly weary of life’.”
Yes, no matter the circumstance we face, those of us who follow Jesus, who are under-shepherds in His name, may have peace in Him and demonstrate it for those we influence and impact. We can take heart – we can gain courage and confidence – because our Lord, our Savior, our Good, Great, and Chief Shepherd has already done the work to overcome absolutely everything we face.
May we demonstrate that peace — that rest — everywhere we lead and in every circumstance we face.