“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

Imagine how Jesus’ disciples felt as He told them that He would be leaving them soon. For three years Jesus had been their constant companion. They had learned more about God and healing and power and forgiveness…and life than they had ever known before.

While Jesus had been with them they’d been in situations where they feared for their lives, watched lives changed before their very eyes and even been personally involved in healing others of their illnesses and casting out demons. Even though they didn’t completely understand everything about Jesus, one thing they knew; when they were with Jesus, things were going to work out all right.

Now, He was telling them that He was going away and they wouldn’t see Him for awhile. Jesus had gone off into the mountains on occasion to pray but this was different. This was going to be a longer period of time and even though He said He’d come back, He didn’t say when.

Not only was He leaving, Jesus didn’t paint a very pleasant picture of life after He was gone. We have the advantage of knowing from history what happened in the lives of the disciples but to them it was all a mystery. Their life was going to be one of trouble. They would be attacked, misunderstood and killed because of Him.

In John chapter 16 Jesus leaves the disciples, and us, three promises. First of all, trouble and hardship should never surprise us. Jesus said we would have many problems. He told us that relationships would fail, our health would fail and government would fail. All of those things are based on the human, finite existence and by nature will end.

The second thing Jesus told the disciples is that even though they would no longer see Him physically, they would know His presence because the Father (God) would send His Holy Spirit to indwell us, comfort us, guide us and show us the things of God. There are times when you feel all alone. There will be times when it seems like no one understands you. But Jesus’ promise is the same today as it was the day He sat with His disciples. The struggles of our lives may cloud our sense of His presence. We may feel like no one fully understands the pain we bear, but Jesus does. He is not far from us.

Lastly, Jesus wanted His disciples to know that no matter how bad things get, those who follow Him will eventually see victory. The world will through confusion, pain, hate and anger at us. We will groan in pain and confusion and feel completely abandoned. But someday, those of us who are Christ followers will overcome the pain and adversity of this life. In the end…WE WIN! Until that time when victory is ours, each of us must learn to rely on the strength, comfort and guidance of the Holy Spirit during those darkest times of our lives.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I want to thank you today for forgiving every one of my sins and failures. I praise you today for removing my guilt and shame even though I’m so undeserving. You told your disciples that we’d see trouble and I’m feeling that right now. I feel abandoned, scared and too weak to go on. Empower me with your Spirit to endure the attacks and trust your presence when you seem absent. In the midst of this struggle I thank you that eventually, because of you, I win! Amen.