“Jesus responded to them, “Do you now believe?Look: An hour is coming, and has come, when each of you will be scattered to his own home, and you will leave Me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:31-33)
Jesus always made it a point to tell His disciples how hard the road would be in following Him He never sugarcoated it. It was a path of struggle and pain and loneliness. But it was all worth it because of who it was they were following.
Here as the days were drawing closer to Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, Jesus tells them of what was to come. Even in the midst of turmoil, Jesus brings peace. Even in the midst of suffering, Jesus brings hope.
I’m reminded today of all the heartache and struggles that these words still resonate. Even though there is immense suffering in this world, we can take heart. Jesus has overcome the world! So as we endure the trials and tribulations of this world, let us keep on the path of following Jesus. Let us be courageous in following Him.
“I waited patiently for the Lord, and He turned to me and heard my cry for help. He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.
How happy is the man who has put his trust in the Lord and has not turned to the proud or to those who run after lies! Lord my God, You have done many things— Your wonderful works and Your plans for us; none can compare with You. If I were to report and speak of them, they are more than can be told.
You do not delight in sacrifice and offering; You open my ears to listen. You do not ask for a whole burnt offering or a sin offering. Then I said, “See, I have come; it is written about me in the volume of the scroll. I delight to do Your will, my God; Your instruction lives within me.”
I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; see, I do not keep my mouth closed— as You know, Lord. I did not hide Your righteousness in my heart; I spoke about Your faithfulness and salvation; I did not conceal Your constant love and truth from the great assembly.
Lord, do not withhold Your compassion from me; Your constant love and truth will always guard me. For troubles without number have surrounded me; my sins have overtaken me; I am unable to see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my courage leaves me. Lord, be pleased to deliver me; hurry to help me, Lord.
Let those who seek to take my life be disgraced and confounded. Let those who wish me harm be driven back and humiliated. Let those who say to me, “Aha, aha!” be horrified because of their shame.
Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; let those who love Your salvation continually say, “The Lord is great!” I am afflicted and needy; the Lord thinks of me. You are my helper and my deliverer; my God, do not delay.” (Psalm 40)
In the midst of such suffering and pain that we are experiencing during these troubled times, it is important to remember that this is nothing new. The world has dealt with tremendous pain and sorrow because of this being a fallen world. David knew of this pain during his life. Yet he trusted in the Lord to help deliver him.
David knew that that Lord was trustworthy. He knew that the Lord would bring hope and salvation. So he waited for the Lord to deliver. Waiting is hard especially when the hurt is so great. Yet we are called to wait on the Lord and put our trust in Him. The good thing is that trust is not unfulfilled. God is faithful.
This week, let us hope and trust in the Lord, even in the roughest and toughest of circumstances. Let us wait on Him and trust He will deliver.
Here is another quote from pastor and theologian Charles Spurgeon:
“There is a time appointed for weakness and sickness, when we shall have to glorify God by suffering, and not by earnest activity…The path of trouble is the way home. Lord, make this thought a pillow for many a weary head!” (Charles Spurgeon)
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord proclaim that He has redeemed them from the hand of the foe and has gathered them from the lands— from the east and the west, from the north and the south.
Some wandered in the desolate wilderness, finding no way to a city where they could live. They were hungry and thirsty; their spirits failed within them. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He rescued them from their distress. He led them by the right path to go to a city where they could live. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His faithful love and His wonderful works for all humanity. For He has satisfied the thirsty and filled the hungry with good things.” (Psalm 107:1-9)
The first part of this psalm reminds me of a praise and worship song that I love. We are to give thanks to the Lord. Why? Because His love endures forever. He loves us so much and cares for us. He is faithful always.
The writer of this psalm speaks to God’s love and faithfulness throughout this psalm. Just in these few verses we see that to be true. The people were wandering and alone and cried out to the Lord. They were hungry and thirsty. They were tired and alone. The Lord heard them and led them out and brought them home. He took care of them.
The Lord does the same for those who love and follow Him He hears us when we call out to Him. He will lead us out of despair and into hope. So this week let’s us give thanks to the Lord for his faithful love that endures forever.
“Others went to sea in ships, conducting trade on the vast waters. They saw the Lord’s works, His wonderful works in the deep. He spoke and raised a tempest that stirred up the waves of the sea. Rising up to the sky, sinking down to the depths, their courage melting away in anguish, they reeled and staggered like drunken men, and all their skill was useless. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a murmur, and the waves of the sea were hushed. They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet. Then He guided them to the harbor they longed for. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His faithful love and His wonderful works for all humanity. Let them exalt Him in the assembly of the people and praise Him in the council of the elders.” (Psalm 107:23-32)
We all have storms we have to deal with in our lives. They come both literally and figuratively. We’ve seen in recent days and weeks dealing with storms such as Hurricane Harvey and Irma. We also see it in our lives figuratively when the troubles and hardships that come our way. Throughout it all, God is still there in the midst. He is still in control.
Like the Psalmist writes here in Psalm 107, God is right there to hear us when we call out to him in the midst of the storm. He knows what we’re going through. He is able to guide us “to the harbor”. Sometimes it’s hard in the midst of the storm to feel his presence but He is there. If we call out to Him, He will hear us.
This week, let us pray for those that are in the midst of storms both literally and figuratively. And let us give thanks to the Lord, for His faithfulness and His love. Let us give thanks that He does hear us and that He will calm the storm and will guide us to the harbor.
“Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves.Because people will hand you over to sanhedrins and flog you in their synagogues, beware of them.You will even be brought before governors and kings because of Me, to bear witness to them and to the nations.But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you should speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour,because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.
“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will even rise up against their parents and have them put to death.You will be hated by everyone because of My name. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered.When they persecute you in one town, escape to another. For I assure you: You will not have covered the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” (Matthew 10:16-23)
Jesus spoke these words to the 12 disciples before sending them out on mission to preach the Gospel. He was letting them know about the dangers and risks that were in front of them. He was informing them of the harshness that they would face. He was telling them the truth about how hard the mission would be. It was not going to be easy but it would be worth it.
The same is true today. We will face hardships and persecution when preaching the truth of Jesus Christ. We will be hated. We will be despised. We will be rejected. Jesus Himself was despised and rejected. We as his followers should not expect less. But Jesus promised us we would never be alone. He has promised the Holy Spirit with us. And one day He will return.
In the meantime, we are called to share the truth in love. We are to keep sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the midst of hardship and persecution, in the midst of being hated and despised. We are to keep fighting the good fight for the sake of the Gospel.
“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Our mouths were filled with laughter then, and our tongues with shouts of joy. Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord had done great things for us; we were joyful.
Restore our fortunes, Lord, like watercourses in the Negev. Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy. Though one goes along weeping, carrying the bag of seed, he will surely come back with shouts of joy, carrying his sheaves.”
The Israelites had several experiences where they were in bondage, away from their home. Each time they were in sorrow and each time God was faithful in delivering them. When they returned, they were joyful and were again reminded of God’s faithfulness to them. They had reason to shout “The Lord has done great things.”
We go through seasons where we weep, where we sow in tears. There are seasons where we struggle in depression and hurt. But God is faithful, there will come a time when we will “reap with shouts of joy”. God will deliver us through to the other side. And we will shout out “The Lord has done great things for us.” This week let us encourage one another with these words. Let us remember God’s faithfulness in those seasons when we sow in tears and be grateful when reaping with shouts of joy.