I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]
John 16:33 (Amplified Bible, Classic Edition)
Sometimes I just sit back and ask myself “what is this life?” The hours that we spend pouring over our work, fretting over our children, standing over the stove (that’s not too many hours for me, but in any case), picking up toys and clothes, watering flowers, hanging shelves, caressing faces, and kissing lips.
This life is the very thing we cling to, the very thing we fight for-to live it on our own terms–how we want, when we want, and in the fashion that we choose. This life is the very thing that we grieve when we see another young brother lose at the hands of the police, or multiple people lose at the hands of a stranger or disgruntled co-worker.
This life is both beautiful and terrible. Joyful and painful. Awesome and all-consuming. It is filled with uncertainty and predictability all at once. And the sheer weight of this reality is what draws me to Jesus each day.
It is comforting to know that Jesus acknowledges this daily tension that we experience. He told us that we would have troubles and challenges. He never shied away from that reality. But he promised to be there through it all, and give us the peace and confidence to walk through that tension, to both yield to it and mold it and bend it and make it all our own.
Jesus’ assurance to us that he has deprived the world of its power to harm isn’t a promise of a pain-free life. That would be in direct contradiction to what he said in the same breath–that we would face hard times. But belief in Him and his power and glory snatches away this world’s ability to take our hope. And if we remain hopeful, then our harm is never permanent.
I worry about my son and my husband as I watch them leave the house. I think about their potential interactions with police and am so suddenly aware of the striking fragility of their existence. But then I rememeber the promise of Jesus’ peace. I think about the work emails, phone calls, motions and briefs and wonder how it will ever all be done. But then I remember the Lord’s peace. I think about the huge responsibilty I have been given in raising these little humans, and being the best life partner I can be to their father (to be clear, I mean my husband. He doesn’t like to be called “baby daddy.”).
When I think about all the things that make this life so beautiful and hard all at the same time, I get anxious and worry. But then I remember Jesus’ peace– one that stills all fears, calms all anxieties, and quells all doubts. A peace that is promised to us, and one that I intend to grab hold of with all of my might, each day that I live this beautiful, amazing, terrifying, wonderful life.