“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus – John 16:33
There is a story of a shipwreck survivor who washed up on a desert island. Daily he prayed that God would rescue him. After a few days, he decided to build a hut for protection and storage of the few supplies that had washed up on shore. He continued to pray daily and waited with hope for deliverance. One day, after taking a walk around the island, he returned to find his hut and everything in it consumed by fire. His heart sank at this devastating turn of events. The very next day a ship arrived at the island. Grateful for his rescue, he asked the captain how he knew he was there. The captain replied, “We saw your smoke signal.”
In John 16:33 Jesus reminds us that trouble happens in life. “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” How does that work? Does it mean when disaster strikes, I grit my teeth, take a deep breath, and pull myself up through self-discipline and think positive thoughts?
Self-discipline and positive thinking may be important attributes, but the danger is that hope becomes dependent upon MY actions. When things don’t happen as I expect, I look inward wondering, “What can I do to work this out?” The truth is that hope is anchored in an upward gaze—looking beyond myself. With my gaze fixed on Jesus, I am brought to place of trust in that enduring hope which streams from God’s great love, compassion and faithfulness. This is the hope my heart can securely hold on to and allows me to say with Jeremiah…
“I well remember them [my afflictions], and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lam. 3:20-23
Our grandchildren need to know that no matter what may come, God knows how to make smoke signals and rescue us in our troubles.
How do you communicate words of hope to your grandchildren in the face of tragedy and senseless violence? Share your thoughts so that other may benefit as well.
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