Have you have had one of those days when it seems like problem after problem just keeps coming up against you?
Sometimes, people naively believe that stuff doesn’t go wrong for Christians or that stuff shouldn’t go wrong when they are in relationship with God. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Jesus even said “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33b, NIV).
This Sunday got off to a pretty lousy start for me. Upon arising Sunday morning, it was apparent that the weather was going to be horrible. I immediately began to wonder what impact that would have on attendance at our Black & Gold party. I could almost hear the Enemy himself taunting me with “Jesus said ‘In this world you will have trouble.’”
I had little time to worry about the party because what I really needed to do was prepare some sort of sermon. My original sermon for our Reformation Sunday service was to feature Rev. Paul Pic playing the role of Father Martin Luther. I was going to interview Luther about various aspects of the Reformation. It was sure to be a GREAT presentation as Pastor Paul and I had spent much time choreographing it.
Unfortunately, on Saturday, Rev. Pic ended up being admitted to the hospital for health concerns and he would not be able to join us Sunday in church. Once again, the Enemy’s whisper sounded “Jesus said ‘In this world you will have trouble.’”
So, I woke up early Sunday morning and scrambled to put together some sermon notes and slides for a new sermon. When I was finished, I uploaded the notes and slides to DropBox on my home computer so that when I got to church, I could retrieve them for use during the Sunday worship service. Upon arriving at church, the internet was down! My notes and slides were simply not retrievable as long as there was no internet connection to allow me to get to DropBox. Once again, the Enemy taunted me “Jesus said ‘In this world you will have trouble.’”
As I sat at my office desk at church, I pushed the button on my phone to see what time it was. Certainly, folks would start arriving soon and I was unprepared. I certainly wasn’t prepared for what I saw next! It was a text on my phone from Jordy stating he had awakened ill and wouldn’t be able to make it to church! As I realized I’d have to scramble to find some pre-recorded organ music, I heard it again…“Jesus said ‘In this world you will have trouble.’”
Now, it’s just getting comical. What else could go wrong? Would lightening knock the power out at church and prevent us from holding worship and the party? I actually began to entertain the thought that that wouldn’t be all that bad of a scenario at this point, especially with you-know-who continuing to remind me “Jesus said ‘In this world you will have trouble.’”
Then I remembered what God’s Word says about the Enemy. It says he is a deceiver. In fact, it says he is the father of lies! (John 8:44)
So, while it may not be good when God Himself guarantees trouble with verses like “Jesus said ‘In this world you will have trouble,’” the reality is, Jesus didn’t finish the conversation with that line. John 16:33c has Jesus continuing his thought when he says “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
In fact, in John 16:33a, Jesus sets the tone for the entire verse when he says "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.”
In this week’s Pastor’s Gratitude Journal, I’m offering prayers of thanksgiving for the peace of God that comes through Christ Jesus and I invite you to offer prayers of thanksgiving for the same. No matter what you may be up against, the reality is, God wants you to know that in the midst of the trouble, you CAN HAVE PEACE in Jesus Christ!
If you were with us on Sunday, you of course know that we had a GREAT worship service and a GREAT Black & Gold party that ended up raising a really nice sum of money for the church. And, to top it all off, our Black & Gold came through with a 27-21 victory over the Colts!
The attitude of gratitude is a wonderful pathway to the peace of Christ, no matter how much the Enemy tries to spin it differently.