One cold winter Roy and his wife, Naomi, decided to purchase an electric blanket for use at night to save on energy bills. Sounds like a great plan right?
The first night they went to bed excited to try the new blanket. Everything was good at first, but Roy began to feel a bit too warm so he turned the controller down one setting. Naomi began to feel a bit too cold, so she turned her controller up one setting. Roy continued to feel even warmer so he turned his controller down another setting. Naomi was feeling even colder so she turned her controller up another setting. This cycle continued for quite awhile, and neither one of them was able to sleep. Roy began to think he was going to have a heatstroke, he was so very warm. And Naomi, well she felt like she was freezing!
It was then that they realized the problem. The controllers were switched! Roy had the controller for Naomi’s side, and she had the controller for Roy’s side. As hard as they tried to make the temperature right, they kept making it more and more uncomfortable for both of them. Up was down and down was up!
The last year has seemed like that for many of us. Just like someone switched the controls and despite all our efforts things are just not right. The world seems to have turned upside down. Circumstances around us can change at any time fostering confusion, worry and fear.
In the Bible, John 16:33 has long been a verse of encouragement to Christians, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus promises both trouble and peace, but He encourages us that peace will overcome all the troubles because of who He is and what He has done.
Take Heart, Look for Joy
For many of us, joy seems elusive. That isn’t a big surprise given all we’ve been through. Between a pandemic, sickness, death, political storms, and hatred, many of the joys in day to day life have evaporated. It’s little wonder anxiety, fear and worry begin to take over. The future seems uncertain. Millions fear getting help, not getting help, spending money, not spending money, and staying home versus going out. In many respects, the circumstances are similar to Jesus’ discussion with His disciples as He spoke to them in John chapters 14 through 17.
Jesus tells the disciples, “Trust me!” He confides in them that He is going away, and they won’t see Him for a time. Then He will return as the resurrected Savior, and they would receive a joy that no one could take from them. And when He actually did return three days after having died on the cross, they were filled with joy beyond measure.
Knowing that Jesus’ word was true, that He died then was resurrected, gives us all joy because we know that we can trust Him when he tells us that He is there for us. We can know that even though we may have troubles, He can bring us joy. When times of difficulty, pain, disease and turmoil come, our joy comes from knowing that in the end, the victory belongs to God through Jesus Christ, His son.
Take Heart, Have Peace
When life seems out of control God provides the living presence of His Holy Spirit as an internal control. There are experiences in life that are unavoidable. Troubles come in all shapes and sizes, from the struggle to pay the bills to the loss of those we love. Jesus tells us in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”
When you have the peace of the Holy Spirit, you will be able to face any troubles. The Holy Spirit will live in you as an ever-present teacher, your source of encouragement and guide.
Take Heart, Pray
John chapter 17 is a prayer. In fact, this is the part of the Bible that contains the longest recorded prayer that Jesus ever prayed.
In the first part of the chapter Jesus prays for Himself. He asks that He have the strength to finish His work and glorify God. Then Jesus prays for His disciples. Knowing He would be leaving them, He asks for their protection and strength. Then Jesus prays for all of His believers, including all who still believe in Him today. He asks that we all live in unity, reflecting the life of Jesus, and helping others find their way to faith in Him.
If Jesus needed to pray to His Father, how much more do we need to pray to God during times of trial and difficulty? Prayer helps us give our troubles to our heavenly Father, giving us the peace that comes from understanding that He already knows the answers; He has the plan.
When we look at life, thinking that things are completely out of control, take a moment to read the prayers of John 17. Be encouraged by the knowledge that the Son of God is in control, and He truly has overcome the world. If you are in darkness, He can provide the light.
The path toward taking heart and being encouraged begins with faith, trust and surrender to Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth and life. If you would like us to lift you in prayer, or you would like to speak to one of our pastors, please contact us.