You’ve been there. I have. I wish I could tell you we won’t be there again, but before today ends, before the week ends, before the month ends, eventually we find ourselves back there. That place where we wonder how am I going to get through this?
Maybe you are facing an illness. Worse yet, maybe your child is. Maybe it is a financial struggle. Perhaps it is a prodigal child. Or it could be the loss of your job. It may be a loved one is very close to passing away. How am I going to make it through this?
Last blog, we had a reality check: we are fallen people (but in Christ redeemed!) living in a world under a curse, surrounded by other sinful people, and Satan himself is called the god of this world (until Christ returns to take it back).
I wish it were different, but the sad reality is that we live in a world where bad news, tragedy, heartache, and pain are the norm… we should expect these things. Jesus even promised in John 16:33: In the world you will have tribulation.
Bad news, just deal with it right? Wrong.
Jesus ALSO said, right before the previous statement: I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.
So peace is found in Him. But what are these things He spoke to the disciples (and us) that deliver this peace? Apparently, Jesus said some things specifically for the purpose of showing us how we have peace in Him. So what are they?
Jesus made this statement at the end John 16, an extended teaching that began in John 13. Starting there, we find in this portion of Scripture at least five different things God is providing to get us through a hard world.
The first one is
PEOPLE TO COUNT ON.
John 13:34-35 - A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
God has given us each other. That’s great news.
I don’t know about you, but I can easily recognize and readily acknowledge the impact my brothers in the Lord have on me. When I am discouraged, they encourage. When I am down, they pick me up. When I am overwhelmed, they come alongside and help. And I try to do the same for them.
Not just trying to be a buddy, but loving each other. And not just loving each other, but loving as Jesus has loved us.Selflessly, fully, perfectly. And when the world see us loving each other that way, their response will be, “Those people must be true followers of Jesus.”
It’s sad when I hear people make comments like, “You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.” That’s not only a statement from immaturity, but it’s a statement of someone who is missing out. Missing the blessing of peace that comes from knowing: yes, life is hard; yes, bad news is around every corner; yes, we live in a world of suffering…but we are not alone. We are in a team…no, a family, who loves us with the love of Christ.
So when life gets hard, we can say, “Bring it. Check out the people who got my back. God Himself provided them. So... bring it.”
Thank you, God, for your provision of people to count on. May I be one to them, too.
p.s. - learning to love like Jesus loved