John 16:33 (NLT) I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
Since moving to North Dakota, my family and friends regularly ask me how things are “here in the Dakotas.”
What they are really saying is, “How are things here compared to South Carolina.”
That is exactly what Jesus was doing when he was speaking to his disciples. What he was saying was, “In contrast to how it is in heaven, here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart…”
Jesus understood that his disciples had no other perspective but “here on earth” and thus he had to help them broaden their perspective.
I have to try to do the same thing when answering my family and friends.
How do you describe “below zero” to people from South Carolina? How do you describe the beauty of the miles of open prairies and open skies to people who live in a little state like South Carolina? How do you describe the “Bad Lands,” which is so foreign-looking you’d think you where on another planet, when there is nothing even remotely like it in South Carolina?
In the same way, for my new friends in the Dakotas who have live their entire life here, how do you describe October in the Blue Ridge mountians when the leaves are changing or the beauty and awe of watching a thunderstorm over the Atlantic ocean as the surf thunders at your feet?
All of us earthlings are so limited. We are from here.
But God is not.
When we read things in the bible that we do not understand or when God leads us through the Valley of the Shadow of Death (tests, trials, and many questions!), remember he is doing so from a far bigger perspective that you and me.
Even with the pictures God has sent (creation) and the letters he has sent (the Bible), and even when he visited us (Jesus’ incarnation) and now as he teaches and encourages us (the Holy Spirit) there is only so much that we can grasp and understand–because we are from here and here only. So…
- The ONE THING for today: Even when we cannot trust our self we can trust God. Even when we do not know about our current and future circumstances, we know God—and that is enough.