June 9, 2011
“In the world you will have tribulation;
but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NKJV).
How many times have you heard professing Christians in the midst of trials ask, “Where is God?” Perhaps you’ve even said those words yourself. Even if we haven’t actually spoken them, we’ve probably all thought them at times—at least for an instant. But deep down we know the answer, don’t we? God is still on the Throne, faithful as always, never leaving or forsaking us.
So why do we react as if He had abandoned us when disaster strikes? Jesus didn’t say we MIGHT have tribulation in the world; He assured us that we WOULD have it. But what else did He say? “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” His faithful promise to us is that there is no trial or tribulation or disaster that can steal our assurance of salvation, our promise of eternal life with Him. The One who overcame the world when He burst forth from the grave now holds us in His nail-scarred hands. We belong to Him, and He is in complete control, even when we feel overwhelmed by our circumstances.
Pastor Peter Paul of Bangalore, India, understands that. A dedicated follower of Christ, this courageous pastor dared to hand out New Testaments to Muslim children. The result? His house and all his belongings were destroyed, and his family is now homeless. When the police showed up, they arrested Peter Paul instead of his attackers, charging him with “disturbing communal harmony” by distributing Christian books to Muslim young people. He was put in prison, but that didn’t stop him. He preached to fellow inmates and won many to Christ.
What does Pastor Peter Paul have to say about all this? “Persecution is not an accident. It is the expectation.”
This humble pastor believes the words of Jesus. He understands that in the world he will have tribulation; he also rejoices in the midst of that tribulation because he knows he belongs to the One who has “overcome the world.”
And so do we, dear friends, so let’s rejoice together!