July 23, 2020
We sit up straight and listen intently as we are hearing the older generation talk of current world conditions when they say, “I’ve never seen anything like it.” Or, “I never thought I’d live to see something like this”.
The hardship that has been placed on us by the coronavirus and the current unrest in our nation’s streets have made life difficult. Many are frightened. Social distancing, state-wide shut downs, riots and looting in our streets, and unbridled violence have placed a heavy burden on our hearts. To such things Jesus made this statement, “I have told you these things so that in Me you have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world!” (Jn. 16:33).
In such turbulent times Jesus offers us peace and confidence. We live in a fallen world - a world that has turned away from God. The world suffers consequences for “cancelling out” God from our lives. Left to our own plans and motives, we have chosen a path away from the life, joy, and peace the Lord initially had in mind for us. Much like drawing a road map, Jesus outlined the current events of our day. It is possible to read the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other hand, noting that they speak of the same kinds of troubles and sorrows.
Jesus didn’t leave us without hope. He promised that in Him we have peace. Placing our trust in Christ affords us a place in His love and care that assures our hearts. We find peace in Him as we trust His promise that He “will never leave or forsake us”. We are encouraged by His promise that in Him we not only have eternal life beyond this world, but we also have His abiding grace that will carry us through all of our problems and trials. With Him in view, we are able to “take heart!” as He commanded. As things get difficult in the current world we are living in, we are encouraged to lift up our eyes to the heavens because our redemption and salvation are near. He is coming again! He’s coming for us. We “take heart” from the comfort and encouragement of the Holy Spirit indwelling our hearts. We “take heart” that we are deeply, thoroughly loved and forgiven. We are God’s very own children and He offers us an eternity of blessings beyond anything we’ve ever dreamed or imagined.
All of this because He has overcome the world, Though He willingly gave His life and died on the cross, the tomb could not hold Him. He rose again! Death could not keep its prey! Jesus is Risen never to die again. He has overcome the world and the power of darkness to be our Savior and Lord. He is our intercessor in Heaven. When we have sinned and need forgiveness, He affirms us to His Father as we confess our sins and repent. We are forgiven. The fear of feeling guilty is removed. His love delivers us. He lives in our hearts and makes His life known to us deep in our spirit. Knowing such things, we should not delay to place our trust in Jesus and turn from our sins. Now is the time for each of us to ask Christ Jesus into our hearts. He has a glorious future planned for us that defies world conditions. He said, “Take heart! I have overcome the world!”
Pastor Greg Brownell
United Brethren Church