Next In Line

“Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. “A time is coming and in fact has come when you ll be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. “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 16:31-33

I am sometimes amazed at the differences in the way people in one part of the world live their lives as compared to ours in America. There are people in the world who live on merely pennies a day. Some of these people have barely enough to eat. They don’t own a car. Many of them have dirt floors in their homes, and their education level is far below what we enjoy here. Yet many of them still find the time to go to church, read the Bible, and praise God.

We have all seen the guy in the line at the grocery store who complains because they have to wait a full 5 minutes. Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and I was at the grocery store picking up some flowers. I put my flowers down to pay for them, and the lady behind me complained to the cashier that their was only 3 lanes open. Mind you, she was next in line behind me, and it was 8 am on Mother’s Day. Apparently, a 2 minute wait in line was more than she could deal with.

My post today is not about rude people at the grocery store. However, it is about how we in this country deal with adversity. I believe Jesus said it all when He told us ‘You will have trouble’. He was trying to prepare His disciples for the tribulations that would lie ahead, and reminding them that the troubles of this world could not consume them as long as Jesus dwelt within them. Jesus truly overcame the world, and we could as well.

With the economic down turn, we are seeing more troubles these days. People are losing their homes. People are losing their jobs. Yet with all of these troubles, America is still one of the richest countries in the world. I went to a restaurant a few days ago and the place was packed, not a seat in the place. On Sunday, my family had plenty of food for our Mother’s Day get together. Even if you are out of work, or losing your home, this country does have assistance to help, more so than most other countries. Yet sometimes you hear people talk as if everything is falling apart.

Now don’t get me wrong. I know very well that there are people with serious problems. I am not blind to the fact that many people are without a place to sleep, and don’t know where their next meal is coming from. My heart goes out to them, and we as a country must help those people. But my point is that for the majority of us, that is not the case. I believe we need to put things into perspective. Jesus’ disciples witnessed their Savior beaten, cursed, spat on, and crucified on a cross. Then after the Resurrection, were told to go out and teach the Word, suffering many tribulations, many of them being killed in the process. Yet they did so willingly, rejoicing in the Lord.

Why?

They had peace. They had a peace that came from knowing they had eternal life, granted to them by grace and through faith in their Savior Jesus Christ. They knew, because Jesus told them in the passage above, that there was no greater peace than that granted by God. It carried them through all of the trials and tribulations, knowing they would one day see their Lord again in heaven.

So my point is this. Jesus grants that peace to every one of us. He tells us very plainly that we will see troubles in our lives. We will see tornadoes. We will see Tsunamis and Nuclear accidents. We will see our loved one die. Some of us may lose our homes, our jobs, and may have trouble providing for our families. But through those trials and tribulations, we can have peace that Jesus is within us, inside of us, and that in the end, He will prevail. Hold steady, stay calm, and have faith.

And the next time you are next in line at the grocery store, say hello to the guy in front of you. You may just meet another brother or sister in Christ struggling just like you in this crazy fallen world.

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