Life is Hard Take Heart

I approached my door and tried to focus. Brown paper bags littered my sidewalk. Bags stuffed with manna. Food, toiletries, diapers, gift cards, and unsigned notes overflowed from grocery bags left for my family.

Approaching a year without a paycheck, trying to keep our business afloat, paying our employees first, and avoiding foreclosure on our home, I didn’t know what to do any longer. I begged God for clarity, but heard nothing. I cried out wondering how much longer this season would last, but answers weren’t forthcoming. Days felt like years, and in the midst of this, my mother in law — vibrant and healthy — was diagnosed with a brain tumor, given months to live.

“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}

Life is hard. Life will get harder. When Jesus shared, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace,” His purpose was not to scare us, but to prepare us for the possibility of pain. It was a foreshadowing of things to come and a lesson my parents took to heart when I was just a child.

After an incredibly difficult life circumstances, which they navigated for many years, my parents mentored their children to biblically gear up for challenging times. They wanted the bedrock of our faith to be steadfast and secure, so that we were prepared for when tough times hit. They modeled Scripture memory and prayer and fasting, alongside vibrant Bible study time — all in the midst of devastating days.

Verses were their lifeline.

Christ declares, “I have overcome the world.”

Power is available when Jesus speaks. Can we shout that for all to hear? He demands the storm waters to calm and they obey. He commands the dead to come forth and a family reunion ensues. He loosens tongues and heals wounds, all with a word.

The Lord knew I needed His inspired word. It didn’t come from Jesus’ audible voice, but it was shouted none the less.

I wanted to quit. I was done. I was exhausted, and my circumstances were not changing, but then He fed me — literally.

With some bags of groceries and some diapers, He reminded me of His truth:

“Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.” {1 John 4:4}

I demanded a pity party but remembered:

“Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” {Psalm 30:5}

I doubted his voice, and He assured me:

“I am the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” {Hebrews 13:8}

My circumstances do not determine my peace. The world can neither give us peace, nor take it away.

Our “peacekeeping situations” mull over in our minds . . . If only my job situation would change . . .If only my spouse would be more understanding . . . If only my kids would show more respect. If only . . .

It is only in Christ that we find true peace.

I have the hope of glory, so why do I doubt?

Satan, the prince of this dark world — with all his power, scheming, and manipulation; with all his seeds of doubt, anger, and dissatisfaction that he drops throughout our daily lives — is no match for our Redeemer.

Satan has no power where Christ Jesus is named.

There is nothing that God cannot redeem. After all our struggles, toils, our doubt and fear, God extends His grace and redeems.

What does Jesus mean when He states, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”?

It’s a declaration that He knows better than anyone how to lead us to victory!

Jesus has conquered and prevailed. He has been declared victorious. Jesus develops overcomers and through our dependence on Him; we are welcomed along for the ride!

Why then do I struggle with this most difficult next step of simply relying and trusting God at His Word?

It’s stepping forth in faith towards the things unseen. It’s accepting His perfect peace even when things feel contrary to my nature and are completely out of my control. It’s resolving that He knows my pain and He understands my problems, but “You have to trust Him, even when you can’t trace Him!”

This is when I choose to fully lean into my Lord Jesus. It’s a choice. In the midst of pain, it’s a choice to recognize truth, believe in His sovereignty and find peace and joy amidst the heartbreak.

It’s realizing that His answers started with an anonymous bag of groceries on a doorstep anddidn’t finish until 15 years later.

It’s knowing I may never figure this all out, but He knows, He sees and He wants to carry this burden for us.

We can’t do it alone, so how can I be praying for you this week? What burden seems too great to carry by yourself? We want to walk with you today.

** I first shared this over at (in)courage where many shared in the comments.