What are you so afraid of?
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
I have to be honest. This is absolutely my favorite passage of scripture! Whenever I hear it preached on or I read something based on it–I really get excited. For me, these few words give me so much hope. These words tell me that it is not just in my imagination–life really is full of hard stuff. But incredibly, Jesus actually acknowledges that fact and then provides the reassurance that it is going to be okay! He has “overcome the world”! So what do I have to be afraid of?
The time had come for Jesus’ to leave the earth and complete His work on the cross. How must he have felt–trying to provide enough information to his followers in the little time that remained–trying to explain to them what was going to happen and what the future was going to be like for them. Trying to get them to see, finally to see– that He was who He said He was. And in the words before this passage the disciples truly and at last understand and believe that Jesus is the Messiah.
And yet, Jesus cautions and prepares them with these words. They will face tribulation. Some versions say “trouble”, or “trials and sorrows.” No matter what you call it, life is not going to be easy. Jesus tells the disciples that honestly and without holding out any illusions. And that is certainly true for us today as well. The life on earth we journey through is full of great things yes. But it is also full of tribulations, trials and sorrows. No wonder we spend so much of our lives afraid of what might happen next! In fact sometimes it seems like around every corner there is a new situation to add to the list of things to fear.
When we operate from a place of fear we can’t be the light of the world that we are called to be by God. In Ephesians 5:8 Paul says, “For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!”
Our covenant relationship with our Heavenly Father give us the power and authority to come out of the darkness where we live in fear of the future. It gives us the power and authority to step into the light that comes directly from the Light of the World–Jesus Christ. As people of light, we can be the light to a hurting world that lives in darkness. We can shine brightly as we serve, and love, and care for the people around us.