This year has been full of various trials in our world, am I right? COVID-19, division over a grueling campaign for the presidency…and then there are daily trials in our own homes and lives on top of everything else. Hardship doesn’t only happen in the year 2020, however. As much as I wish it would happen, suffering will not disappear on January 1, 2021. Jesus tells us in His Word to expect trials to come. “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) I love that phrase “take heart”. It warms my soul to read that and to know that Jesus is directly encouraging you and me. Jesus gave us these words so that in this troubled world, we will have peaceful assurance that He conquered sin and death, He is with us and He’s gone to prepare an eternal home for us where there will be no more mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore! They’ll be gone forever! That is our hope, our anchor for the soul.
Do you sometimes seek out other things to numb the problems in life? I know I can! Social media, shopping and Netflix for example can distract us from pain or hopelessness for a time, but the fact that we are truly safe in Jesus’ grasp is what gives us peace that transcends all understanding. It goes beyond circumstances. Do you know this kind of peace? Not just a cheap, temporary peace? While I write this, it’s a reminder for me to daily and consistently press into Jesus, our Prince of Peace, so that I don’t stumble and fall into discouragement or anxiety. That means hiding His Word in my heart and praying throughout my days in order to stay near to Him. I want to be able to say with confidence and full assurance in my heart that whatever might come, IT IS WELL. Believe it or not, Jesus evens tells us to REJOICE in our sufferings. Suffering might not sit well with us in the moment. It’s uncomfortable. But in Romans 5:3 Paul says,
Looking back on times of suffering throughout my life and throughout motherhood, I didn’t know what was going on at the time. But, I can see now how God has used those times to grow my character. It truly is a mystery as to how it happens, but I think God knows that we have hearts that are prone to wander and seek after things that won’t satisfy our souls. Strangely, He uses hard times to allow us to realize that we can’t do life on our own and we desperately need His forgiveness and grace every step of the way. It’s also important to reach out to others and seek out encouragement during the tough times. We need each other and we need to see Jesus through the people He has placed in our lives. There is a song called “Take Heart my Friend” by Fernando Ortega that I’ll leave you with.
Take heart, my friend, we’ll go together
This uncertain road that lies ahead
Our faithful God has always gone before us
And He will lead the way once again
Take heart, my friend, we can walk together
And if our burdens become too great
We can hold up and help one another
In God’s love and God’s grace
Take heart my friend, the Lord is with us
As He has been all the days of our lives
Our assurance every morning
Our defender in the night
Go in grace and peace, my friends…even in the fiery trial because the Lord is with us!