07 May He Has overcome the world
Many of us have a strong Calvinist background. Accompanying this is a very strong understanding of the sovereignty of God. We know that He is in control of everything. We know that He has a plan for the world and everything that he has planned is coming to pass. We also know that He has a plan for us and He is working to bring that to fruition also.
When we focus on the sovereignty of God there is the temptation to overlook the evil in our lives. We can overlook the pain and brokenness of this world, we can diminish the seriousness of sin in our lives and we can inadvertently dismiss the suffering of others. We overlook, ignore or rationalise away our emotions, not stopping to pay attention to the seriousness of what is happening.
Without realising it we focus on the Christ’s victory over sin, without stopping or remembering that we are still living in a broken world. There is the tendency and temptation to focus only on the second part of John 16:33: In the world, you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world. We rejoice that Christ has overcome the world, that His has been victorious over sin and overlook the reality that in this world we will have trouble.
When we dismiss the trouble of this world we can overlook the hardship and struggles that our brothers and sisters are facing. Without realising it, we are telling our hurting brothers and sisters that their pain and suffering is not real, it is not legitimate. We don’t use words, but our own attitudes and actions tell those that are grieving that they shouldn’t be sad. We behave in a way that takes away from the severity of the trauma. In a way that overlooks the reality of anxiety or depression. In our actions we brush over how broken and hurting this world really is.
At the same time, our dismissal of the reality of hardship of this life, also means that we ignore the storms that we find within our own hearts. As we live our lives, we push aside the feelings of pain, grief, fear and distress that arise in response to the hardships we face. We continue to soldier on, telling ourselves that we shouldn’t be sad, or afraid and we definitely shouldn’t be distressed because our God has everything under control. The truth is, our pains, our heartbreaks and our grief as all very accurate reactions to the brokenness of this world and the brokenness of our own hearts. If we push it all aside, numbing the pain with busyness or comforting ourselves with fantasy and food, the storm of emotion grows into a much greater cyclone.
Christ has overcome the world. That is something we can take very great comfort in. The truth is, we continue to live in a world that is filled with troubles, it is filled with grief and pain. We cannot take a short cut to rejoicing in Christ’s victory. We must also walk through valleys of grief, encounter storms and seasons of turmoil, and pass through times of discomfort and distress along the way.
We can take comfort knowing the the God who has overcome the world walks by our side. He is right next to us, guiding us each step we take through valleys of grief. He is our shelter in the midst of the storm, our refuge in times of turmoil. We can reach to the king of the universe in the midst of our troubles and in love and compassion He will hold us in His arms.