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 (ESV)
This verse is a well-loved statement from Jesus.
In it, He administers peace and hope.
The end of the verse is clearly meant to encourage. Jesus gives us assurance that He is more powerful than any trial we find ourselves facing. He is greater than our overwhelming schedule, our responsibilities, our sin, our disappointments, and even our deepest pains. Whatever the world throws at us, He has already overcome.
I’ve always found a strange sort of comfort in the first part of the verse as well. Meaning, I find it reassuring to hear that I will have tribulation in this world.
I think it’s comforting to read because it is my lived experience. No matter how well I stay on top of things, plan, or worry, there are still many things that just go wrong. I’m familiar with tribulation. And sometimes my finite mind tries to make sense of these things by blaming myself.
When tribulation comes my way, I am quick to accuse myself of dropping the ball.
Well, if I had just been paying better attention…
If I could work harder at it...
If I had been prepared...
I functionally believe that if I just try hard enough, nothing bad will happen to me. That there’s something I can do to make sure hardship doesn’t come my way.
Thankfully, Jesus removes that burden from me.
There is nothing I can do to remove the pain from my experiences on earth. There will be hardship. There will be stress.
It shouldn’t scare me. I am not causing it or baiting it with my incompetence.
All I have to do is trust in our overcomer. The Greek word being used for ‘take heart’ means to radiate warm confidence and be emboldened from within.
I’m taking that truth with me as I start a new week. Whatever comes my way that is unexpected and hard, I want to rest in the truth that I don’t have to carry the burden. I don’t have to wonder where I went wrong. I can let Jesus be the overcomer.
It’s a role that only He can play. And I am so grateful.