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 NIV
Debb: My family is in a season of uncertainty as my husband’s current role in the military comes to an end, and we wait to see where we’ll go next. After years in our present location, it’s hard to start living through the ‘last time we’ll do this, go there, see them’ moments, especially as we don’t have anything to run toward yet. I look around at the families who are rooted in this community we have loved and think how different their predictable lives seem to ours.
I acknowledge this is solidly a first world problem. We aren’t in danger, hungry, or homeless, and we have no major health concerns. But each day, the not-knowing gets a little harder. I don’t want to waste these last few months in this mood.
Beth: I get this! When my daughter was first diagnosed with a brain tumor, I found myself living in the space of “She may never graduate, drive a car…” It was a crowded place to dwell, and I must have been some kind of delirious to worry about such temporary things. The not-knowing kept me anxious. Moody. Makeup-less. Then one day her neurologist said, “You may want to at least try to look optimistic, because we really don’t want to make her think she is not going to be okay.”
That’s the thing: Jesus didn’t put on a face and pretend it was going to be okay, but assured that we can expect peace even though it’s not. Just imagine, in the early chapters of John, Jesus tells the disciples what will happen. He will go away. They will suffer. But, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace” (John 16:33 NIV). He knew that in His absence their tired hearts could know the home of His presence.
Deb: So Beth, how do we do it? Even in the short time of writing this, we’ve seen our lives change. A lot of those ‘lasts’ have been taken away. How do we find peace and take heart in heartache? Even as streets and grocery store shelves are eerily empty, when schools and playgrounds are closed and everything, even church, looks different? When so much we knew in life has shifted? No one’s shooting, but the military folks I know agree we are at war.
Beth: Just like any battle, the not knowing is the hardest. Eventually, we exhaust ourselves. We have somewhere to run to though, a destination, a home even. Because Jesus says this in verse 32, “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me” (John 16:32 NIV).
The thought of Jesus abruptly leaving had to have been a frightening thought for His disciples. The anxious worry of being scattered to their own homes, of being truly alone, would have been a shock after the security of traveling together for three years.
We now know this was one of the last conversations between Jesus and His disciples. Although Jesus knew what waited ahead—trouble then triumph—He offered harmony in the middle of both. His promises give comfort a voice. I am not alone. In me you will have peace. I have overcome the world. These truths, re-read after a makeup-streaked day of work in the ER, tell me it’s going to be all right. This connection is vital to our fierce, soul-filled peace. Life may shift and change, but we can expect the best because “…my Father is with me.”
Debb: And that’s how we make it through whatever life throws at us—uncertainty, fear, anxiety, illness, or heartbreak. My family has always known and lived the trouble, but now more than ever, we need to claim the promise: we can take heart because Jesus has been to each of those hard, emotional places before us, and we know that in the end, The Story concludes in victory. He wins. And so do we.
About the authors: Beth Duewel is a writer, speaker, and blogger at Fix-Her-Upper.com. She has three almost adulting children, and lives with her husband in Ashland, Ohio. Beth and her coauthor, Rhonda Rhea, are super excited about their new book, Fix Her Upper: Reclaim Your Happy Space.
Writer, broadcaster, and speaker Debb Hackett has been a radio journalist for more than twenty years. Married to a test pilot, Debb writes for military wives and lives just outside Washington D.C. with her husband and children. She’s having lots of fun working on an inspirational contemporary romance series. When she’s not writing, Debb can be found leading worship, playing bass, or skiing. Also, if you can swing by her house while she’s making scones, that would be a win. She blogs at: http://debbhackett.com
Join the conversation: How does knowing the end of the story help you live in the here and now?