March 13, 2019

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33

“It feels like the end of the world!” Have you ever had that thought? I have, especially after a major loss… or what I perceived to be a ‘loss.’

An ice cream cone falls to the ground; a child becomes inconsolable. A teenager gets a bad grade at school; they’re devastated. An adult loses a job or a relationship; feelings of failure and shame take over. Over time, we look back at our reactions to those events and think, “If I only knew then what I know now…”

They make more ice cream, so no reason to cry. Spend more time studying, you’ll be happier with the result. Jobs and relationships don’t define you as a person – and when one door closes, a better one opens. Perspective is everything.

During Lent, I think of how the Disciples couldn’t see anything that would remotely resemble something ‘good’ during the crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday. But after His resurrection on Sunday, their perception of that event changed forever.

Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to pay for our sins wasn’t just good, it was incredible, miraculous – the greatest gift of love the world has ever known!

James S. Stewart, a Scottish preacher, beautifully wrote about this particular contrast of perception and reality:

The very triumphs of His foes… He used for their defeat. He compelled their dark achievements to subserve His end, not theirs. They nailed Him to the tree, not knowing that by that very act, they were bringing the world to His feet. They gave Him a cross, not guessing that He would make it a throne. They flung Him outside the gates to die, not knowing that in that very moment they were lifting up all the gates of the universe, to let the King come in. They thought to root out His doctrines, not understanding that they were implanting imperishably in the hearts of men the very name they intended to destroy. They thought they had defeated God with His back to the wall, pinned and helpless and defeated: they did not know that it was God Himself who had tracked them down. He did not conquer ‘in spite of’ the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.”

Whenever you’re hurting, remember how hopeless the Disciples felt after Good Friday. But from that suffering came our joy of salvation on Easter. God is with us, even in our deepest sorrows. Your world isn’t ending. Christ overcame the world so that we can too.

Ed Doney, Staff Writer