How can we be blessed, calm, and even joyful, even if it feels like our world is falling apart? These are the times that test our faith, but it’s for these times that we are given it. God never promised us a perfect life, but he promised that he would never leave and always help us when we call on him. He gives us strength through his word, Holy Spirit, to rise above if only it’s in our hearts or spirits. There are many times when I attribute any functioning I had to that glimmer of hope, strengthened by my faith. During my chemo treatments’ most horrible times, a silent strength deep in my spirit kept me going. We can all find these stories in our lives if we look. We have the tools to strengthen ourselves through his word, promises, and testimonies in the good times, especially when trouble comes. No one ever wants to be in a desperate state, but it even happened to the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:8.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…2 Corinthians 4:8-12
Thy Kingdom Come
In John 13, Jesus was preparing himself and his disciples for his upcoming road of the cross. The disciples had no idea what was coming. These conversations would be some of the last days of face-to-face, hand-in-hand talks they had with him. Jesus wanted to prepare them for the devastation ahead. Their culture, their race, prayed and waited for the Messiah. He would be a spiritual and political hero who would save them and establish God’s will for his people on earth. God sent the Messiah Jesus to save us from a much greater tragedy than for a political battle. It’s a tragedy of heart, of a broken relationship with God, our sin that separates us from him. Through Jesus’ death, God would establish his kingdom in the hearts of his people, and in turn, his people would establish it throughout the earth. This is God’s design for “Thy kingdom come.”
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.Matthew 6:10
Demonstration and Preparation
John 13 starts with Jesus washing the disciple’s feet, demonstrating the cross’s message of love in action. He spoke to them of matters of the heart, of certain betrayal, and their upcoming separation. He wanted to prepare them, so they didn’t feel abandoned. Of course, Peter opens his mouth (oh how I relate to Peter as his zeal sometimes overcame his logic) and asked, “Why can’t I go with you I will lay down my life for you right now.” This question prompted those famous, heartbreaking words, “Peter, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” This was an unlikely message of encouragement and love that made an indelible mark on their hearts and even ours right now. He knew that Peter would deny, and Judas would betray. He sent a message that rings through the ages, that his love is constant, and his word is always true.
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.John 14:1
God’s design all along was for him to establish his kingdom in our hearts and lives so that we, in turn, establish it on the earth. How can we establish peace, righteousness, truth, joy, love, and order if it’s not in us first? Remember, when overwhelmed, furious, tormented, and hurting during hardships and trials, it doesn’t surprise God. He has already given us his words of wisdom, peace, comfort, and joy to strengthen us and carry us through. Let’s cling to this eternal phrase that’s reverberated through the disciples that fateful night, that’s been written and read on the pages through the ages to this very moment. God knows what will happen, and he gives us what we need to keep our hearts and minds. At peace. Let those words echo in your spirit today, “Let not your heart be troubled.”
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.”John 16:33