I’ve always been kind of a “glass is three quarters full” kind of guy. It didn’t matter how the circumstances were, I would move forward with an overabundance of hope to the resolution of a situation. A lot of times this involved squashing my personal feelings or thoughts on the situation. I’d brush off the what’s or the why’s and simply focus on how to make it go away.
I realize now that it also stifled a lot of opportunities to grow.
My second favorite verse in the Bible (maybe it’ll become my favorite) is this:
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 ESV)
There’s a few things that have jumped out at me (more profoundly than the first few times) that needed deeper reflection:
First, note that Jesus himself (and by way of the trinity God himself) doesn’t say you may have trouble (as older translations say it) or that if you are sinning you’ll have trouble. No, he says that you will have trouble. This is something that you simply need to accept and expect. Sometimes I think I try too much to avoid trouble that I stress myself out and inadvertently cause it. Tribulations will come. It’s not necessarily due to anything I’ve done, but they’ll come. It’s also not worth worrying about when the next “shoe will drop” because if it does, it’ll happen in it’s own due time. So what to do about it?
Note what Jesus says next. He doesn’t say “…but just blow it off, ignore it, pay no heed to it, I’m in charge of things.” Instead, he’s says something more profound, he says to take heart. This is far different. Yes, we do not let our troubles overwhelm us and take control of our focus. We are to retain our hope that the Lord of the universe is in charge and cares for us. However, this doesn’t mean we simply brush off our troubles. We shouldn’t try to find a quick fix (which might make things worse) and fail to learn or grow from them. These are the times to be refined through the process. We need to pause and listen during these times, to see what we need to learn and grow from.
I’m reminded of a song by one of my favorite bands called “Stand in the Rain”. The chorus of the song says:
So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it’s all crashing down
You stand through the pain
You won’t drown
And one day, whats lost can be found
You stand in the rain
We stand through our trials. Yes we get soaked. Yes it will feel miserable and confusing. In the end though, we make it through the rain. We stand and take heart that Jesus has overcome the world and can easily overcome anything in our life. We become stronger and wiser for it.