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Archive for September 25th, 2016

It was Benjamin Franklin who is credited for saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

but he was wrong …

no, not wrong …

but what he said was incomplete.

john-16-33

Experiencing childhood in the 1970’s, I was subjected to the music my mother listened to. One of the songs I remember hearing frequently was sung by Lynn Anderson (and my mother), called “(I Never Promised you a) Rose Garden.”

I expect that we all love life when it is good, when it is easy, when health is good, and loved ones are loving, and there are a few bucks in our wallet, and we have simple pleasures in our days. What we forget is that those things are not certainties, not guaranteed, not promised to us.

The words of Jesus, the Christ, were spoken to his followers, as he was preparing them for their lives, after his own Earthly demise. He knew not only the trouble that was just around the corner, for himself. He also knew that there would be a life-time of trouble awaiting his followers (and all who would follow after them).

“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” (John 16:33).

Not an encouraging prophetic message, coming from the God of all hope!

But there is not only doom and gloom in this foretelling.

The verse begins with the offer of peace, a peace that goes beyond placards and marches, guns and war. He offers a peace that passes all fleshly understanding. A peace that mysteriously can happen right in the middle of trouble. It is, in a sense, our spiritual bullet vest. Oh, we will still feel the impact of the trouble, but it cannot mortally pierce our soul.

Then, the verse ends with hope.

“take heart! I have overcome the world”

What he is saying is,

I have fought the fight, I have worn the scars of your trouble, I have defeated death in the pit of hell. And he said it all before the triumphal entry, before Gethsemane, before the scourging and the cross.

He knew the troubles that would bomb our lives. But our troubles, to him, were worth the troubles that he would experience in the days to come.

Though our lives exist with the guarantee of troubles, we have the hope that he has overcome the world, and because of him, we truly can face tomorrow.

God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he brings;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!

And then one day, I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to victory,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives!

Chorus
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

 

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