“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.”
As believers, we talk a lot about a deeper, greater joy than what the world and its empty pleasures have to offer. We speak of our relationship with the Lord as being the joy that brings strength even amidst sad, hard or difficult circumstances and situations that we may be faced with. Yet we still can feel down or discouraged or depressed at times. Just what is it, that we speak of when we talk of this joy, that sometimes seems so illusive? John knew of it as he penned the words in our scripture verse of today, but Paul also knew of it in his prison cell, when instead of counting the wrongs done to him, he counted the blessings that God had given him. What blessings? Perhaps the blessing of his changed, transformed life. He had experienced a dramatic change on the road to Damascus that he couldn’t deny. It certainly didn’t take away his problems but it did give him a new life and a new direction, even though it wasn’t a bed of roses. Instead of seeking people to destroy, he sought people to save by sharing the gospel message of God’s truth. His transformed life and relationship with Christ brought joy in the midst of persecution, trouble and upheaval because of an underlying, steadfast hope of eternal life at the finish line. When this victorious hope is our fundamental, solid base for our faith we are grounded in the victorious Lord who has overcome death and the grave. What victory is ours then, even when we feel discouragement or disappointment? When our faith in God is our grounding in life, it instills a certain peace that transcends all of our understanding and even when things go wrong, this God-given peace operates on default as we place our trust in the Sovereign God who is in control. What’s your prison today? Is there something that has you bound, robbing you of joy? Paul was thrown into a literal prison, but we can put ourselves in chains, just because of our own rebellion and selfishness. Or perhaps our prison is one of poor health, unemployment, addictions or other things that plague us and from which we can’t escape. God didn’t promise to take the problem away but He did promise to be with us in them. He alone can free us from the past and set us on a new road of direction just as He did for Paul. As we close the curtains on another year, do you know Him as your Savior? Who else can you trust other than the One who knit you together? The One who called the world into order with His word alone. The One who hung the stars and the moon and called the boundaries of the oceans into place?
He is your best choice as you begin a New Year and find peace amidst the uncertainties that lurk ahead. It may not be a bed of roses, but your default will be grounded on Christ.
“I said to a man who stood at the gate of the year, ‘Give me a light that I may go out into the darkness.’ He said to me, ‘Step out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than a light, and safer than a known way.’ ” A quote by Minnie Louise Haskins.
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•°•.•*~*.✿ I WiSh YoU ✿.*~*.•°•.•
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