There have been times in my life where I have been. just completely. stunned.
Aghast. Blown away. Frozen. Numb. Helpless.
Yep, all of those words apply.
And it's in those seasons where you think...
"Wait a second...I did NOT sign up for this, God!?! What about the promises of abundance? Health? Being the head and not the tail? Having influence and power? Those are the promises I prefer to cash in on today, Lord, Thankyouverymuch."
But, sometimes we forget that--ahem--we've been fairly warned about this world we make residence in. John 16:33 begins with Jesus' warning that "In this world, you will have trouble".
And He wasn't kidding either. Trouble comes and it tries to take your breath away. It comes and it attempts to steal your confidence. Your shelter. Your hope. Your future. The enemy throws big punches sometimes.
I know it. And you know it too....
The disciples didn't know it yet...but it wouldn't be long before it would "seem" like everything they had worked for...given up their lives for....separated from their families for....BELIEVED in. was gone.
And as Jesus was being brutalized. Humiliated. Murdered?
They watched. Stunned.
Sometimes I feel like that, too. As if I am just watching this parade of attack happen around me...and I? Just stand there, utterly stunned.
If I am being completely honest....I've felt like that lately.
And I've prayed....Oh boy, have I prayed! And I've cried. And I've complained. And I've pretended I was trying to listen to God--but that can be hard to do with all that carrying on... And then I remembered!
You see, Jesus fairly warned us about this life in John chapter 16....but He didn't leave it at that.
The full verse, gives us reassurance. hope. confidence. that in the end? God has it under control...
"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]" (Amplified version)
I like the amplified version the best...because of the last sentence "I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you". Wow.
I often use the analogy of a mural to symbolize our lives. We generally, can only see what is being painted right now. We only focus on the colors and shapes that make up our lives, TODAY. But God? God knows what the final product looks like, because He. Is the ultimate artist. And he doesn't make anything that isn't beautiful...
Sometimes? it feels like the tribulations, trials, distresses, and frustrations overtake us. They overpower us. They leave us battered, bruised, and torn-down...
But in the end, they haven't. And they can't. Because Jesus promised us that HE had overcome the world. He had conquered the enemy on our behalf.
When we have lost all confidence in the people we love, when we have lost all hope in this world we live in. Our courage can only come from HIM. He may have *fairly* warned us that this life wouldn't always be fun or easy...but he didn't leave us alone, either. He is--Today--and always has been the Overcomer of this world. The one who wars on our behalf. The one who conquered the enemy and crushed him under our feet (Gen. 3:15)
So. Have heart. Stand undaunted. Be courageous in perseverance. Because, in the end?
God's mural (of your life) will STILL be beautiful.