Black Hole Peace

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, NIV.

I am surrounded by people who seem to have constant trouble. It makes me almost ashamed to say that my life, though it has had its “black holes,” has been relatively trouble-free.

As the Lord comes to His darkest hour, His “black hole” shaped into the form of a cross, He reminds His disciples that all He has said applies to those dark moments that await them at the cross and beyond. They will need the assurance that a better life is waiting for them (John 14:1-4), that He will return. They need to know that they can ask and He will deliver that which will bring glory to Him through them (John 14:11-14). The Spirit will come to live in them so that He, the Christ, will forever be in their lives (John 14:15-18, NIV). They are not to be afraid but to trust and count on the peace that He will give during all their difficult times (John 14:26-27).

Jesus also reminds them to abide in Him if they want to bear fruit and know the fulness of His power in their lives (John 15:1-17). Life won’t be easy. Hardship and death waits around the next corner, and the one after that, but His Spirit will never leave them. They can count on every heavenly resource (John 15:26, 27; 16:12-15). He assures them of His love all through this record of His final words to His followers.

All this He tells them so that they will have heart peace even when their circumstances are less than peaceful. Trouble is inevitable, but the bottom line is that trouble is temporary.

For some people I know trouble seems to be a permanent fixture in their lives. Here again the assurance: though it seems like a lifetime of trouble, this life is only temporary. In the light of eternity, our troubles are brief and are not without purpose.

Paul, writing to the church in Thessalonica, was concerned that persecution might have driven the believers away from the Lord. He was gratified to learn, via Timothy, that the faith of the Thessalonians had been strengthened because of all the difficulties they were facing. Interestingly, Paul did not pray that they be spared from trouble. He wrote: “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen yours hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when the Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones” –1 Thessalonians 3:12, 13, NIV.

You see, the temporary is only preparation for eternity. It’s the proving ground, the test, the workshop. How we deal with trouble is much more important than escaping it. That’s why Jesus told His disciples that He would provide resources for them as they faced their challenges and encouraged them to keep their eyes on the ultimate victory. It’s why Paul prayed that the Thessalonians would persevere in faith through whatever came their way rather than praying they be delivered.

Some trouble we can avoid–that which is of our own making, fueled by our own willfulness. That which God allows is controlled by a gracious hand and is meant for our good and His glory. And, thank God, it is only temporary. Trouble is also tempered by the peace that He promises to those who are willing to trust Him with knowing what is best for them even in the dark places.

Comments

  1. Only temporary - so reassuring. thanks, Lynda!

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  2. "Some trouble we can avoid–that which is of our own making, fueled by our own willfulness." Trying to surrender more to His will each day! But this one sure gets me all too often! Thanks for a great article. You inspire me!

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