When Christians talk about the promises God has made to us, we tend to focus only on the pleasant ones: the promises of life, blessedness, comfort, His provision, etc. But there is another promise He has made that isn’t so pleasant, and it isn’t one that we like to focus on. It’s the promise that in this world we will have trouble.
In John 16:33, Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation.” I recognize that this is not a promise that God will give us tribulation (trouble), so some may rightly argue that it isn’t one of “His” promises. But, it is certainly a true guarantee that Jesus makes very clear to us: in this world, we will have problems.
Making wise decisions will keep us out of much trouble that this world brings. But the world is bigger than each of us and all of us, and so the world is going to be bigger than our choices. And that means that even if we don’t create trouble for ourselves, trouble will still find us. Imperfect people living in an imperfect world are going to have problems.
When Jesus spoke the uncomfortable truth of what life in this world will bring, though, He also said something else. Here’s His full statement in John 16:33: “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.”
He has overcome the world. And it’s troubles. He is a living solution to the problems of this world. He is the guarantee that today’s problems do not have to be our final experience. He makes a very clear, very positive promise that we should hold tightly to: He will give us Himself, and that will be the source of our peace even while problems are present. He is greater than the problems, and so His peace will be greater than the pressure we feel from our turmoil.
We may prefer a world that doesn’t have problems, but we don’t have that option in this present world. But what we do have is hope in the person and presence of Christ to help us cope with both the good and the bad of reality, and the promise that He has the final say over us.
At Liberty Hill we are presently in a Sunday morning teaching series on “The Well-Built Family,” and we’re talking about the character and qualities that will make for strong and stable relationships within a family. This Sunday we’ll be talking about those problems and pressures which threaten our families’ foundation. We know that problems in this world will affect us and our families, but in Christ we are able to stay strong and true. Join us this Sunday at 10:30 AM as we look for the guidance of God to protect our families’ foundations from the threats of a world that promises problems.