There are times we just don’t know what to do, not only during this pandemic but all through our lives. We seem to be more aware of how much time we spend thinking about ourselves, our future and what it may hold. If we just think about it, we have always had some type of trouble or tragedy in our lives, but now we are concentrating more on the struggles than ever before.
We look toward our leaders, friends or family for guidance, but no one seems to have the answer. I have also heard some say, look to yourself for your answers; you know you better than anyone else. However, there is a greater source we can look to. Jesus himself said in John 16:33, “In the world you will have tribulation.” In this life, troubles will come. You can’t escape it. You may feel like running to the end of the world, but wherever you go YOU ARE THERE with all of your problems. You carry them with you.
So what are we supposed to do? Do we drown our problems with drugs, alcohol, relationships or whatever else to cope with life? Jesus reminded us in John 16:33, that problems are going to come, but those words are in the middle of the verse. What is the rest of the verse? Paul Harvey would say, “The rest of the story.”
Jesus begins that verse by saying, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.” Do you notice that he begins to speak of PEACE first? He wanted to comfort his disciples before he talked about troubles. Before this, he says in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
You see, Jesus wants to give us his peace for our trouble. It is God’s Great Exchange: we give Him our trouble and He gives us His peace. Isaiah 61:3 says, “To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. ...” You may say, “How can I trust Him? What has He done”? In the last part of John 16:33, He says that we do not need to overcome the world. “But take heart; I have overcome the world.” He has already done it for us!
When Jesus was dying on the cross, the last thing he said was, “It is finished!” — this in the original Greek comes from an accounting term that means “paid in full” (John 19:30). You see, He paid it all. He took all of our sin, shame, insecurities, etc., upon himself and is telling us right now, I PAID IT ALL for you. He is calling to you, in Matthew 11:28. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Duane Williams is pastor of New Horizons Ministries in Kingsport.