For Hearts Overwhelmed by Tragedy

I shared with you earlier in the year that the “one thing” I was going to focus on in 2016 was writing, which is what I believe God has asked me do. So I took to the keyboard and have tried (unsuccessfully at times) to write an encouraging blog once a week. The very year that I have focused on pursuing this calling has been a year drenched with tragedies – personal, national, and global – which have left me heart broken and sometimes afraid. In the midst of these moments I come to my corner, open the Bible, and hear the voice of God directing me through these difficult times. These thoughts I share with you.

Over the past few weeks our world has seen tragedy after tragedy. Our televisions scream headlines our way while our computers shout opinions at us. By the time we figure out how to respond to one incident, we are hammered by another. Many of us are running for the proverbial hills looking for a way out of the chaos. And some of us have lost sleep wondering about the state of our nation and the world. Worry has become our companion; fear, our neighbor.

Perhaps you have not experienced this in that past few weeks or months. True confession: I have.

In these moments, I open my Bible and God speaks.

Hear these words today:

In John 14:27 Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid (emphasis added).” He also says, in John 16:33, “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 (emphasis added).”

When Jesus spoke these words to His disciples, He was close to fulfilling His purpose by being crucified, resurrecting, and returning to heaven. Jesus knew that the disciples’ time on earth would be filled with difficulty and uncertainty. You see, the disciples did not know it but they would face unfathomable amounts of persecution after Jesus returned to heaven. They would be driven out of villages, despised and hunted down by government officials, beaten, imprisoned, burned, exiled, and crucified. Therefore, Jesus gives them peace. Not just any peace… It doesn’t come from government officials, journalists, political commentators, protest organizations, small groups, pastors, hymns, etc. No. This peace comes directly from Jesus Christ.

Do you remember the story of the disciples in the boat? They were sailing on the Sea of Galilee when a storm came and rocked them so furiously that they were overcome with fear. Where was Jesus? Asleep. He had peace. You see, He knew who was in control over all things. Therefore, He had peace in the midst of the storm. Interestingly enough, that’s what He used to calm down the wind and waves. Jesus said, “Peace, be still.” [Read Mark 4:35-41]

This is the peace He offers us. Peace that is rooted in the character of God, not the condition of the world. A peace that always remains and never changes because it comes from Him.

Jesus understands that this world is disturbing and terrifying at times.

This world is under the curse of sin, therefore we will have trouble. There will be disease, famine, hate, war, and persecution. The world will hate us as they hated Christ (John 15:18-19). It will be difficult, uncertain, and at times, painful.

However, we need not fear a battle that has been won nor be afraid of an enemy who has been conquered. The Bible tells us that Jesus has “overcome the world.” When Jesus rose from the dead, He defeated Satan – conquered Him. That’s why the Bible tells us that “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).” Jesus won it all. Satan truly has no authority. Therefore, worry and fear have no purpose in keeping you company. No matter how much evil you see in the world, remember the Christ within you. Jesus won the victory. In doing so you have peace through Him.

As you look around and see pain, sadness, devastation, murder, and hatred you might be tempted to panic, worry, fear, or doubt God.

Friend, “Peace, be still.”

Open the scriptures and find your hope, strength, promise, and peace in the Word of God.

Perhaps you are like me and these words from Jesus are exactly what you need today: “Peace I give to you… Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid… but take heart; I have overcome the world.”

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