“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Christ states clearly that we will experience challenges and tribulations in this life but in the midst of our troubles, our only source of peace should be Him.
Sadly, because we live in a sinful and broken world, bad things will happen to good people.
But here in lies the difference – in the midst of life’s challenges, believers in Jesus, can be assured of Christ’s presence. They also need not fear because they know that in spite of what is happening around them, Christ remains firmly in control, because “He has overcome the world”.
We can further be assured that dark times are not an indication of God’s absence. On the contrary, they are very often when God is working behind the scenes to transform our circumstances. Psalm 23: 4 encourages us and reminds us that even when we walk through the “valley of the shadow of death”, we need not be afraid because God is with us.
Does it mean we will be spared the pain? Not always. Does it mean that our situation will bring us heart ache and disappointment? Very often, Yes. Does it mean God has stopped working on our behalf? No. Does it mean that He has left us? Never.
As believers we should also take courage knowing that God is able to work all things – good and bad, tragic and joyful, for our ultimate good – provided the central focus of our lives is to seek, follow and be obedient to Him and His purpose. And that ultimate good to shape us, mould us and make us more Christ-like in character – very often using the difficult situations we do through in life.
Christ, the Son of God went through pain, punishment and ridicule and was eventually crucified on a wooden cross by the very ones He came to save. At first sight all seemed lost, to the disciples it was a tragedy, the devil appeared to have won and for two days Christ’s body lay in the tomb…
But on the third day, God stepped in…A God who makes a way where there is no way, who works all things together for good, a God in whose hand are power and might, so that none can withstand Him, stepped in, and He raised Christ’s body to life again.
Life now displaced death, hope now displaced hopelessness, victory now displaced defeat, joy displaced tragedy and above all, a destiny of eternal separation from God because of mankind’s sin, was now replaced with an eternal communion with God for all those who accept Christ as Lord and Saviour…all because God was still working behind the scenes, even when all seemed lost and all hope was gone. And all because Christ willingly submitted to God’s will for His life. Not His own will but God’s will even to the point of death.
Finally, as the saying goes, “God might not save us from our trials but will save us through them”. Meaning that God is far more concerned about how our experiences in life will shape our characters, draw us closer to Him and make us more like Christ, than the pain of the experience itself.
If it means that the problems we experience will humble us, bring us to the end of ourselves, allow us to see with greater clarity the power of God, lead us to Christ and secure the eternal destiny of our souls, then God may allow such trials. He may not save us from our trials but rather save us thoughts.
The pains of our trials will pass, but eternity is forever and an eternity without God is infinitely worse than a lifetime of pain and heartache.
No matter the tragedy, no matter the heartache and no matter the pain, God had already forseen the event and he had already made provision for the strength to see us through, the wisdom to guide us and peace to comfort us.