Several years ago, a friend of mine left tennis practice on his motorcycle and headed home. Along the way, a car ran through an intersection and crashed into him. He received a traumatic head injury, and broke his leg in several places. His life was forever changed and his tennis career came to an abrupt end.
Months later he appeared in court. During the final settlement hearing, the judge asked him if he would ever ride a motorcycle again. He said, “No, because I now know that you can do everything right, and still get run over.”
Life feels that way to me sometimes, “I did everything right, and still got run over.”
Sometimes really good parents have children who struggle with eating disorders, or sexual orientation, or depression, or psychotic episodes, and they blame themselves. “Surely I did something wrong,” they think. But they didn’t. I watched them and they were good parents.
Sometimes faithful hard working people get fired, or miss out on promotions, or get treated badly in the workplace and never get their heads above water and they ask why but can’t see anything they did wrong.
The same is true with our friendships, marriages, and even our health. Sometimes you can do everything right and still end up wrecked.
Jesus warned us about that. He said, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world."
“In this world you will have trouble.” The warning itself comforts me. He knew this was coming. He understands the world we live in and how hard it is to make it. He knows the frustration and heartbreak that await us.
“Take heart, I have overcome the world.” Yes, this world is broken. It is broken so badly that God himself had to die to fix it. It is broken so badly that we will have to die to experience a world that is healed. But this broken world is not final. Jesus has equipped us to live in this world and has created a better home for us in the next.
He has given us a Father. We were orphans, alone in the world, but Jesus brought us home and introduced us to his Father. This Father has welcomed us into his family, called us sons and daughters, and given us his care. Our Father knows us, sees us and hears us even in our darkest hours. We may get wrecked, but we will never be alone again.
He has given us his Spirit to live in us. This Spirit enlivens us, sustains us and even shows us where to walk. Some days we get wrecked and wonder how we could possibly go another day. But his Spirit wakes us up in the morning, and gives us the energy to keep moving toward hope.
Finally, he has given us the resurrection hope. This world is not the final word. Jesus has punched a hole through the grave and promised us a world where he will wipe away every tear from our eye. In that world there will be no more wrecks, nothing to fear, no darkness. He promises to meet us there. His Spirit promises to get us there. His Father promises to walk with us every step till we get there.
I tell you these things that in my you may have peace. In the world you will have troubles, but take heart, I have overcome the world.
Ricky Jones has spent the past two years as a church planter and pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Before that, he was a campus minister with Reformed University...
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