“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
Spiritual warfare has been a heavy topic for me to write about. However, it has been encouraging to see the thread of victory and redemption God has woven into Scripture. Jesus Himself said He has overcome the world! He has the ultimate victory. That should give us so much hope and joy.
Of course it’s easy for me to write that. Living it out is a lot more challenging. Please know I do not have this all figured out. Hope and joy can be hard to hold onto when life gets hard. Many times I find myself struggling to keep my eyes on Jesus, like Peter in Matthew 14. I love that story. Peter starts out so confident asking Jesus to call him out onto the water. Then Peter gets out of the boat and actually walks on the water! He had to have felt pretty awesome in that moment.
How quickly things can change.
Peter was doing well focusing on Jesus until he noticed the wind.
“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
I don’t know how hard the wind was blowing for Peter but it was enough to get his attention and make him afraid. Think about the times you’ve been in a boat in deep water. Now think about that deep water, add some wind, and think about getting out of the boat. That sounds so scary to me!
In that moment Peter has taken his eyes off Jesus and he’s sinking. So often I find myself being just like Peter; sinking in the trials of life and crying out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!”. So often I forget that Jesus is bigger than all the craziness in this world and that He has conquered it.
But what does Jesus do when we cry out to him? Look at what happens after Peter cries out. Does Jesus wait and let him struggle in the water? Does Jesus shame him?
“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
I love that Jesus immediately reaches out his hand to help Peter. Immediately.
God does not delight in our struggling. He knows we are human. He knows we so easily become distracted by the wind and waves. He is so faithful to lovingly pull us out of the deep water and He gently reminds us to have faith.
Today, let’s fix our eyes on Jesus. Let’s remember His victory over sin and death. One of my favorite passages is in Revelation 21. I go to these verses when I start to feel hopeless or weary to remind myself that even though this life is hard now, there is a happy ending.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.” Revelation 21: 3-7
As you go about your day and encounter the brokenness of this world, take a moment to reflect on the hope that one day Jesus will make everything new. When you feel the stinging of tears in your eyes or when you see a friend grieving, remember that one day Jesus will wipe away our tears and there will be no more mourning, crying or pain. Jesus says “these words are trustworthy and true”. Tuck these words away deep into your heart and be quick to pull them out when the storms of life beat you down. I am praying for you dear friend. We are all in this together.
May the Lord’s grace and peace be with you always.
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~ Jesus (Matthew 28: 20)