I read a book last week that opened with a quote by Frederick Buechner – Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.
I suppose another way of putting that but with deeper meaning and hope is what Jesus said in John 16:33 – … In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
It’s amazing how both the beautiful things and the terrible things seem to happen simultaneously. Two weeks ago, a dear friend of mine from college buried her precious mom. Two days later, another of my college friends welcomed her new baby girl into the world and there were countless photos posted of her family smiling and celebrating this new life. Those two friends – one in deep mourning, one in joyful celebration – were at completely opposite ends of the spectrum. One was in the midst of one of the worst experiences of her life; the other was in the midst of one of the best. Beautiful and terrible things. God was with them both.
I’ve seen a lot on social media lately of what is a vast misunderstanding of God. Somehow we have managed, as a culture, to make people believe that if anything bad or tragic happens, God is not good and is not loving. God is made out to be a jerk unless we are all happy all the time and life is perfect. Jesus was clear – in this world, we will have trouble. This isn’t Heaven. We aren’t there yet. The God I know isn’t a jerk, even in the most painful or disappointing of times. In this world we will have trouble, but He has overcome the world.
Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is our refuge. – Psalm 62:8
I pray that those of us who follow Jesus can be the hands & feet and accurately affirm the loving character of God by trusting Him in the joyful times and the painful times. We will have trouble, but He has overcome.