These things I have spoken unto you that in me you might have peace. In this world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
I heard one of those stories today. You know the type. Normal people. People who could live on my street, or go to my kids’ school, or be members of my church, or even my family for that matter. A story about something really, really bad. The kind of story that you immediately think of when your eyes pop open at 5 o’clock in the morning, and that you don’t even want to repeat to your friends because it’s just so upsetting. And you wonder… What would I do? How could I live? And eventually you push the story out of your mind because there’s no use in dwelling on it. You resolve to be careful and take all possible precautions so that nothing equally bad will happen to you, but the truth is, you’re shaken. You know how vulnerable you are and it so hard to not be afraid.
“In this world you will have tribulation.” How true is that? Were we created to experience the pain and heartache and devastation that seems to be our lot as humans? When God designed us back in that beautiful garden, was it his plan for us to spend our lives in fear? Jesus’s words come to us, as relevant today as when they were spoken to the trembling twelve over two thousand years ago. “Take courage. I have overcome the world.” This is the promise that brings peace.
I still don’t know what I would do. I still don’t know if I could live… but for this moment I hold on to the promise, and am grateful for mystery of God’s peace.