“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! For I have overcome the world.” It is so easy to read only half of these words from John 16:33. When there are ice-days in April causing schools to close (or worse and scarier reasons for schools to close), and weekends spent treating the entire house for headlice, when everyone seems to be a critic, and even your own thoughts prove false –those are times the first sentence is all that seems to come through.
Even now, as May struggles to shake the cool, wet chill, and pet-, home-, and car-ownership show themselves to be costly in time, energy and resources, as coughs linger with evidence of other “bugs” still effecting the household, and a loved one is clear that he is “near the end” those three simple words deliver hope and a command. But. Take. Heart.
I drove behind a bumper sticker for some time that said “Don’t believe everything you think” and I pondered the phrase with amusement. It’s good advice. My thoughts easily weigh me down. But. Take. Heart. Joint pain, fatigue, immune system not what it once was remind me that Lyme remains part of our lives. But. Take heart! And, not that, as some assert, there is some well of strength in myself or my heart that will overcome the troubles of the world. No, I cannot end at “take heart!” -there is more. “For I [the I AM] have overcome the world”. In that I can take heart. One greater than me has already overcome all that this world troubles itself over.
Truth be told, the first bit of John 16:33 actually starts, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace”. Starting there, it gets much easier to find something nice in what is part of our little world. Troubles included. In Christ we have peace. He has overcome. Feel that peace gently washing in, coating the troubles and the heart.
With that, some Fairy Tales lice-preventative shampoo, a lot of homemade household cleaner (and some dish-soap), flexibility of wardrobe and weather-dependent plans, some creative budgeting, and proactive prayer (a term my pastor recently gave me for what I ought to do with troubles and my own thoughts which may or may not be wisely believed), I walk in the promise of my Savior. I have peace in Him. He has overcome the world. Life is good.