Read John 16:33
33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (NLT)
Jesus promised his followers peace and sorrow, joy and trouble. Unless we can grasp that apparent paradox, we will struggle to follow Jesus and sustain our faith. Unless we recognise that life is inherently difficult we risk being defeated by life.
When we read Scripture, we find that all who trust in God face challenges. No-one seems to have an armchair ride to heaven. Flawed individuals face adverse circumstances. And it seems the way forward is the way through, not the way around.
We run into problems when we insist that life be fair, that life be comfortable, that our dreams come true and that our wishes be granted. Life is not like that, and God is no genie in a bottle springing forward to make life just what we want it to be.
Once we realise that life may not always do the right thing by us, we are more open to recognising that God has promised his presence in the midst of trials, not promised an absence of trials.
This doesn’t mean life is one misery after another. There is much good, much blessing in life. We must not forget that as well as trouble, we are offered joy. As well as sorrow, we are offered peace. It is just that peace comes from the presence of God not the absence of sorrow. And joy comes not from good life situations but from God’s good faithfulness in the midst of life situations.
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