In this world you will have trouble (John 16:33).
Accidents in pants, accidents through the night, eleven stitches on a child’s face, technological items stolen out of one’s vehicle, being disconnected three times from the government agency you need to speak to regarding important documentation for your children, miserable rain, pinkeye, rapid mood swings necessitating deft parenting responses, feelings of inadequacy as a parent, loneliness, bills, stark awareness of one’s personal complicity in grievous social sins, language barriers, night terrors, piles of laundry, schedule conflicts, and tiredness.
Yeah, I’ve wrestled with all of these…today.
But take heart! I (Jesus) have overcome the world (John 16:33).
This is what I hold on to on days like today. I know that in the midst of my struggles, he is here. If I will just turn my attention from these things that press in on me, I will find an alternative reality that can transform my perspective. This doesn’t negate my struggles. I still need to work on my responses to my son’s sudden demeanor changes, so that I can help him to learn self-control himself. I still need to keep dialing the phone in hopes of making progress in the post-adoption paperwork journey. I still have to face the fact that I am far away from many people who matter to me, whose lives produce heartbreaks and wonderful joys that I can only experience from a distance. I still need to reflect on what I’m learning about individualism, world poverty, and discrimination. And there’s always laundry.
But I don’t have to do it alone. In the midst of it all, I have a companion who enriches my thought life with His words, who challenges me by His example to live better, who frees me from unnecessary inner turmoil by His ever-present listening ear, who inspires me to press on through all sorts of trials. Because of that, my world—with all its trouble—is overcome. The alternative reality overcomes it because the immediate experiences of this day are just that—of this day (except, perhaps, for the laundry which always seems to spill over into tomorrow). But what happens with Jesus will endure forever and all will be made glorious in connection with Him.
Because of that, in the middle of my lousy day, I have had many opportunities to truly rejoice.
So come on, let's leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. . . . I want each of you to extend . . . toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish. Don't drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them. . . . We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It's an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post (from Hebrews 6).