Our world is rocked. Our security feels threatened. Our emotions may be ravaged. We’ve never lived through the craziness of a pandemic before. The ground beneath our beliefs is roiling, and we seek something solid on which to stand.
If you will, please allow me to share my journey. When things reel out of control for me: The death of my father, my rock, when I was young and in a doomed marriage; the divorce that followed the next year; life as a single mom, a blended family challenge, and recently the death of my beloved mother. Those were the times when my heart and mind searched for the absolute truth that has been my guide since childhood. What does God have to say? And I find comfort in His words:
Psalms 27:5 “In His shelter in the day of trouble, that’s where you’ll find me; for He hides me there in His holiness; He has smuggled me into His secret place, where I’m kept safe and secure – out of reach from all my enemies.”
Psalms 68:20 “Our God is a mighty God who saves us over and over! For the Lord, Yahweh, rescues us from the ways of death many times”
But what does that mean when we feel threatened by very real things like COVID-19? If the God who penned the words above feels distantly removed, then what are the words of the One who lived in this world with us and experienced pain as a human being?
John 16:33 “Everything I have taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!”
Indeed, we live in a real world with very real pain.
To know the strength and confidence Jesus is promising, we need only look at the circumstance wrapped around those words of great hope that He offered. The stage was set in this passage:
John 13 “Jesus knew that the night before Passover would be his last night on earth before leaving this world to return to His Father’s side…and He longed to show them the full measure of His love. So before their evening meal had begun…”
The context of Jesus’s promise of peace and confidence was just hours before He knew He was to be brutally crucified. He knew that he would be publicly humiliated and beaten, endure hours without food or sleep, experience the denial of His own followers, and die on a cross between two common criminals. All of that was in His conscious mind, as His fate approached. And yet His concern was to comfort His followers, even the one who would betray Him later that night.
But He had peace. And He promised we could have that same peace.
In that moment of realization, of who He is, and how He willingly came to this earth to give Himself for me, and that He did it all so I could be confident and have peace in this world of troubles; that is when my soul finds comfort. That is when my mind rests. That is when I don’t need to know what tomorrow holds. For surely He is with me and He knows trouble and pain, and He’s already paid the price for me.
And in that moment when I cannot trust my feelings, I can stand still on the Solid Rock, knowing He will be with me through whatever comes tomorrow.
Jo Lembo, Director of Faith Initiatives | Shared Hope International
(All scriptures listed are The Passion Translation Bible)