Wow! I swear this was spoken right from God directly to my heart today.
“You don’t have to pretend life doesn’t hurt.”
I have found myself not sharing in the hard times because I didn’t want to seem weak or appear that I had less faith than I should. When my heart desperately wants to cry out for support and prayer, I have literally thought; “will they think I am a bad Christian?” Or; “they will think my problems are so trivial.” Or; “I’ve been so blessed, who am I to complain?”
Ok, who is “THEY” and do “THEY” even matter?
The answer is no one cares and no ‘they’ don’t matter.
Life gets hard and it hurts. It is full of schedules and demands and laundry and dinner and sick children and aging parents and budgets due at work and half your staff being out sick and your boss with demands and really great things you wish you had time to devote your time to (except see the former)… and … and … you get the idea. In those moments when I want so desperately to cry out that life hurts and it is just too stinkin’ hard, I don’t.
I don’t because I worry that maybe I will look weak in my faith. Maybe my problems don’t look like total joy and peace resting in Jesus. Ok WHOA! Can I throw a flag here? TOTAL PENALTY! Personal foul type penalty – lose 15 yards. That is not what it is about people! That is not the way the story goes. I can’t believe that I allow that lie from the mouth of Satan to darken the doors of my world.
Jesus told us, “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]
What is going on in this verse is basically Jesus is going over what is going to happen. Think of it as a pre-Calvary orientation. Training, if you will. Jesus is the only one that knows what is really about to happen. Jesus was preparing the disciples for the death and burial and resurrection. He knew it would be hard and He wanted the disciples to have hope. ‘Jesus won the battle and conquered the world’ kind of hope. Not a physical earth conquering, but a spiritual victory over death. A final defeat of Satan that was going to happen with Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus is going to conquer Satan and the evil in this world once and for all. The corrupt and the cruel discouraging ways of Satan in this world.
So, Jesus is telling us in the syntax of this sentence – you will have trouble. Not maybe or might, but definitively you will have trouble. Get ready and prepare yourself. Surely, it is part of your destiny. (Encouraging – I know! Hold on, good stuff is coming). We all have troubles we will have to face. The overwhelming days, the sickness, the sadness, the mean people – through these or whatever other thing are pulling you down, whatever way Satan tries to break us. Yet Jesus give us hope through His conquering. He says “take heart – I have overcome!”
Hard days come and life gets overwhelming. You don’t have to pretend life doesn’t hurt and isn’t hard. You don’t have to pretend you don’t feel the pressure. Jesus said it would be hard. The troubles don’t make you weak. The hope through troubles makes you strong!
Go get your people, your tribe, tell them it’s hard and have them help you remember who overcame. Then live in the hope of what is to come.
Pray with me. Dear Lord, We come before your honored and humbled to call your Holy name. Be with us, God, in the middle of the junk of this life. When we get overwhelmed stir our hearts with the peace of your Spirit calling to mind your promises and your complete triumph over Satan and death through Jesus. May we know in the trouble of this world, Jesus overcame and it is in his precious name we pray. Amen.
In His Grip, Ashlee